by Paula Manuel Staff Nurse Interest Group

Well my promise is to update every couple of weeks the new blog and though traffic is light my hope is more readers will come aboard and follow along.  The neat dynamic of a blog is the opportunity to share your perspective, in essence a conversation.  The positive of social media, we can connect across time and space, maybe not as much fun as the amusing YouTube videos, though perhaps you’ll be intrigued at the very least you may even nod and say hmmm she’s got a point.  That’s your moment to say hey what about…I look forward to that moment.

Participate,  Actively,  Often, Scientifically, Artistically, Blending Skill, Thought, Attitude Being a Nurse…excerpt from Nursing Week 2013 

We understand that as nurses we need to be involved in generating solutions, indeed Linda Silas, Canadian Federation of Nurses Union (CFNU) president, described how “Governments and hospital administrators are constantly asking nurses to do more with less — less budget, less staff and fewer supplies even”. “They too have a responsibility to address and resolve problems when the quality of care we can provide to patients suffers. They must make allies of nurses — the largest group of health-care providers and the best frontline resource — because we are a voice for patients with insights into the issues and ideas for the solutions.” The opportunities to lead change emerge when staff nurses engage in short-term projects to improve patient care, even at an individual level by reviewing Best Practice Guidelines relevant to practice, work environment, and personal care such as Preventing and Mitigating Nurse Fatigue in Health Care. We have opportunities to be on committees, to be advocates at point of care for managing pain, to explore ethical dilemmas, and we need managers who are accessible, effective, and know how to advocate for resources for their staff.

There are elements I have included in my professional toolkit that will be familiar to many of you, accountability, empathy, respect and dignity, honour and integrity, values that encompass the art of nursing. The concrete knowledge of assessment, technical skills ranging from aseptic technique, teaching a patient on care of their ostomy, to administration of medications and the know how to monitor lab values, side effects, efficacy, and to know when something like analgesia is needed, these are in the area of science. It is my organizational abilities to admit a new patient, monitor a patient receiving blood products, attend to a patient who has been incontinent, and answer a ringing phone in the span of 15 minutes, we by necessity learn how to juggle priorities and in a healthy work environment I know my teammates are but a call for help away.

To Mentor, to Honour, to be Compassionate…excerpt from Summer 2013 

The experienced practitioners (if nursing went by seasons I’m an autumn) have an essential role for new graduates, yes we’re obligated to support peer development as per the College, we also have a moral imperative to role model altruism, honour, kindness and caring. I would say we are charged with the responsibility of sharing knowledge and supporting each other for instance having debriefings following critical clinical situations. I learned from colleagues who reviewed with me aspects of care, ethical dilemmas, and the importance of self-care. Some critical events included a respiratory arrest, a death, and how to manage a crisis situation with a patient or a family. We need to be coaches to guide our colleagues the first time they need to speak to the physician on call at 0300 hours, how to convey the status of the patient in a concise, accurate, and efficient manner. We need to be mindful of words and actions, our own and of other team members that cast a negative slant— even reaching bullying behaviours. Another area to consider is generational factors right now we have Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and some Traditionalists; nurses who are in practice in their sixties and seventies age wise.

It does make one’s professional life interesting, the dynamics of generational similarities and differences will make an interesting topic for a future blog posting. For now when in doubt, ask—to clarify because to make assumptions may send you into troubled waters, misunderstandings and create stress. There are strengths to tap into by collaborating, listening well, and being clear on what is needed and when it needs to be done. I envy my young colleagues who clearly can walk and text at the same time, I need to be stationary hmm maybe I just need more practice. Mind you I have colleagues who seek me out to tap into my reservoir of knowledge and experience; are you contributing to a learning environment? Consider your accountabilities as a nurse, team member, and private citizen—are you helping or not? If you read this far thank you I believe you’re on the right track. Namaste.

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