Archive for the ‘General Nursing’ Category

The Challenge for New Nurses When Caring for the Aged

November 9th, 2013 | General Nursing | 0 Comments


Compassion and a nurturing nature are typical personality traits for any individuals who choose to enter the nursing field. A desire to help the sick and injured, as well as great determination, are also pre-requisites that equip these honourable people for their profession. When new nurses actually begin their first positions after completing nursing school, it can be extremely challenging to apply their knowledge in real life situations. This especially holds true for those who begin their careers by caring for the aged.  The elderly population has a unique set of needs that nurses must be prepared for when they put their training into practice.

Aging: A Natural Progression
As people head into their golden years, they will experience a natural progression as changes take place in their bodies. Some individuals will maintain greater mobility and better well-being than others, depending on their personal situations. The mission of all nurses should be to assist aging patients in having the best quality of life that is possible. Recommendations can be made for diet, nutritional supplements, forms of exercise, and other activities that can promote good health. When patients experience problems, nursing staff members need to team up with doctors to find solutions and provide comfort as well.

Geriatric Patients: Common Afflictions
When it comes to providing care, nurses need to be prepared to face a host of issues with each geriatric patient. No two patients will be identical in their medical concerns. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart conditions, diabetes, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal problems, vision problems, diminishing hearing, and various cancers are par for the course. As people age, their bodies begin to show wear and tear brought on by the passing years. Lifestyles can have a major impact on the aging process as well. A patient at age 90 who made sensible choices over the years might be in better shape than an individual at age 65 who drank and smoked. Regardless of the physical and emotional condition of any patient, a nurse must assist the doctor in diagnosis, treatment, and management of any health problems experienced by geriatric patients. For those who are fortunate enough to be in good health without any concerns, nurses can provide helpful advice to ensure that their patients continue traveling the road to wellness.

A Helping Hand and a Shoulder to Lean On
In addition to navigating the murky waters when it comes to recognizing the diverse needs of the elderly population, nurses need to realize that they will be the lifeboat in the storm for many of their patients. As people age, they lose many of their friends and family members. Many patients may have no one to turn to in life to attend to their care. Whether they are living by themselves, living in a nursing home, or experiencing a hospital stay, their nurses and doctors may be the only people who care about them. Nurses need to have extreme patience and demonstrate a caring manner toward the aging. They may be the only light in the darkness of loneliness.


Geriatric Nursing: An Area in Hot Demand

The North American population is aging and the number of geriatric patients will only continue to grow. In addition, people are experiencing a longer life expectancy. Look in hospitals across the nation and half of the patients are the elderly. Few nurses actually become certified in geriatric care. However, most nurses will work with aging individuals at some point in their careers. They need to recognize the fact that this population will require special care and nurses will have to step up to the plate. For nurses entering the field for the first time, there are good prospects in the field of geriatrics. Whether caregivers choose to dedicate themselves to the aged, or find themselves dealing with aging patients, they must always take the time to truly understand each individual in their care. Nurses are likely to deal with a mixed bag of issues that include physical maladies, mental issues, and emotional concerns. If they commit themselves to finding answers for each, aging patient, nurses can truly make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. They must face each challenge with optimism and the conviction that aging individuals deserve only the best in care.

Resources for Gerontological Nursing:

Canadian Gerontological Nurses Association

Gerontology Specialty Certification – Canada

British Geriatrics Society

Geriatric Nursing – Johnson & Johnson

Ryan Hughes is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. He is in his final year of nursing at University of Derby, Nursing and Health School and is passionate about helping others and sharing his thoughts via the online world.

Going the Extra Mile: The Growing Need For Nurses With an MSN

April 25th, 2013 | General Nursing | 0 Comments

The US healthcare industry is undergoing major changes in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, while Canada strives to sustain the tenets of the Canada Health Act. Much of the impact of global changes to healthcare policy falls on the nurse at the point of care. As patient advocates, nurses must be prepared to acquire more authority and provide more legislative direction as an agent of change. As the shortage of general practitioners and primary care physicians continues to rise, nurse leaders need to provide evidence-based nursing care and gain more autonomy in the nursing field. Graduate and ‘specialty’ programs in nursing (Canada/US) promote a readiness for the challenges of the future of nursing.

Nurses Need More Authority

Online certification classes and advanced degrees in nursing allow nurses opportunities to advance their knowledge and apply a seamless academic leap in an advanced position. With over three million nurses in America, nurses can continue their education, advance their roles and gain more autonomy. As the healthcare professionals on the front line of care, nurses need to prepare for more responsibility with patient care and overcome the barriers with the empowerment of an advanced education.

Nurses Collaborate with Physicians as Full Partners

According to the Institute of Medicine/Robert Wood Foundation Report on the Future of Nursing, nurses should pool resources with physicians and other members of the disciplinary team in redesigning healthcare and meeting the growing shortage of primary care physicians. As 17 million more citizens gain access to healthcare by 2020, the family practice physician shortage will increase to over 65,000. Nurses can not only close this gap but may also provide care at a more affordable cost.

Nursing in Administration and Legislation

Preparing for the changes in healthcare also include that nurses are positioned in administration, bargaining and legislative roles. The current legalities that govern the scope of practice create barriers that limit nurses far beyond their experience, education and training. Nurses who wish to play a vital role in the transformation of healthcare must be prepared to influence current regulatory, governmental and healthcare organizations to support change and advance health.

Nursing Leaders in Education

As an agent of change, nursing educators must prepare student nurses at all levels of care to be part of the fundamental renovation of a new healthcare industry. By providing leadership, educators provide a strong nursing workforce that is well-prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing healthcare industry.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice

As healthcare dollars are funneled through specialties and expensive diagnostics, nurses need to justify their practices with evidence-based research. Research nurses conduct scientific trials and conduct patient surveys that establish the validity of the nursing practice. It is imperative that nurses use research and other data to establish the nursing profession as an invaluable service to patient care. According to healthcare act standards, research must be provided to support preventative measures and patient education in self-care and caregiving for family members in communities that may not have access to healthcare.

The Nursing Environment and Safety

Finally, the nursing shortage will continue to place nurses at risk for unsafe patient ratios and overwhelming workloads. As more patients acquire access to healthcare, hospitals and other facilities may not be prepared for the increase in numbers and may sacrifice the quality of care. All healthcare professionals must be part of the transformation of healthcare, and nurses are the greatest stakeholders.

Blake Pappas
Freelance Writer

The Basic Problem of Technology

April 23rd, 2013 | General Nursing | 1 Comment

The time has come to accentuate the non-technical aspects of personal relationships. Such a renewed demeanor will come to our rescue when our technology fails, is misused, is being ‘updated,’ or when a person wants to relate to us verbally what they do not want to put on a form or into a computer information system, as is often the case in health care.

Why do we need to re-accentuate the non-technical aspects of personal relationships?If we look back a little more than 150 years, in the year 1854, Henry David Thoreau cautioned us against becoming dependent upon ‘things’ that were not in any way necessary for promoting a better way of life or happiness. He was responding to a sentiment born of the Industrial Revolution that an accumulation of ‘things’ would enhance personal achievement and happiness as opposed to a kind of spiritual, moral, or ethical motivation. Among these ‘things’ are what we call our technologies. Thoreau’s message has gone essentially unheeded and we continue to strive for technological excellence in response to many of our problems instead of a more personal solution with spiritual, moral, or ethical undertones.

With respect to our world of computing, one of our most familiar artifacts of technology, almost every day we experience the annoyance of updating or implementing new versions of our computer systems because the original was not thought out properly and/or needs to get to market. Most importantly these technological wonders that surround us have in some ways disenfranchised us; preventing us from enjoying an amenable way of relating to other human beings. We call this amenable way of relating to other human beings a humanistic way of being in the world – engendered by a respect for each unique individual’s personal identity and dignity, confounded by his or her histories, cultures, ethnicity, environments, and values and beliefs.

Technology has at least three problems that effect our every day lives:

First, technology in all its forms, has no personality. That is it demonstrates none of the qualities of ‘person’ or any of its cognates, e.g., wisdom, compassion, happiness, sadness, love, hate, and etc. Technology doesn’t even have any of the attributes that may fool one into thinking it was a person. We sometimes confuse ourselves and others by trying to assign some of these human qualities to our familiar technologies and forget that our technological implementations are merely reflections of our imagination or innovation and are ‘tools’ invented to make our activities more pleasant, effective and efficient.
It follows from the above that technology is not personal and/or private. That is, the technical modalities that are part of our every-day activities do not have any capacity to relate to us and respect the uniqueness of persons using or being used by it.

Second, not only is there not any inherent respect for the humanistic attitude in our techno-worship worldview but every day we hear of some major system being ‘hacked’ into and revealing all sorts of personal and identity information that we consider as private. Possibly you have been a victim of such an intrusion and certainly you fear every time you open an email, click on a link, or an attached file, or one of your children logs on to the internet or a social network, that you are open to an invasion of privacy.

The issue of failed security has become one of the major concerns of governments, companies, and individuals who do not seem to be able to offer an effective remedy to the problem. What we are primarily concerned with here is the extent to which these security breaches affect us as individuals existing in a humanistic way of being in the world.

Third, the untimely failures of our technological modalities including failures of equipment and failures of processes. These are experienced in times of use in the middle of a procedure or in times of so called ‘updates.’ These failures are so common that surely everyone reading this article can provide some examples. These failures and other issues related to technology elaborated upon in, “Technicity in Nursing and the Dispensation of Thinking,” (Kleiman and Kleiman).

In order to mitigate some of the effects of the foregoing discussion Dr. Susan Kleiman offers a workshop entitled ‘Humanistic Nursing Inquiry in a technological worldview.’ For more information on the workshops in New York City or at your site call: 631-656-3301 or email:

Kleiman, S., Kleiman, A. (2007). Technicity in Nursing and the Dispensation of Thinking. Nursing Economic$.25, 3

Thoreau, H. (1985). Prose works: A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers;
Walden, or, Life in the Woods; The Maine woods. New York: Literary Classics of the United States.

Copyright © 2013 Susan Kleiman All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint by Dr. Kleiman April 23, 2013.

Addiction More Prevalent Than You Think….

February 14th, 2013 | General Nursing | 1 Comment

Supporting Nursing Staff to Overcome Drug Addiction

Research suggests that the incidence of addiction amongst nurses is 10-15%, though in some areas of work this may be as great as 20%; studies have indicated that nurses working in the emergency department of hospitals are at particular risk. This isn’t just an issue for their own health, as while under the influence of drugs – whether they are prescription medications or illegal substances – their physical abilities, judgment and decision making can all be impaired, which can place patients at significant risk of harm. Although traditionally nurses with addictions would have been dismissed, the move towards providing them with support to make a recovery and return to practice has become the preferred option. Here we consider why nurses are vulnerable to addictions and how their problems can be addressed with the help of their colleagues and employers.

Contributing factors to addiction amongst nurses

A number of elements relating to the environment in which nurses work places them at risk of developing drug addictions, especially to those drugs that are prescribed. Firstly, as with many jobs, high demands are placed upon nursing staff and they can feel under a lot of pressure to achieve what feels unachievable during their shift; as a consequence stress is a common problem amongst nurses and drugs are used by some as a means to help them deal with this. Similarly, they may be taken to help manage the emotional distress felt after working with difficult cases. Shift working and the significant over-time nurses are expected to work to cover absence of colleagues and unfilled posts can soon take its toll leading to tiredness; it is understandable they may feel like they need something to pick themselves up. Working long hours on their feet and handling patients and equipment can also lead to musculo-skeletal injuries; taking pain killers to manage these problems can become a habit which is hard to break. Nurses’ familiarity with medications and their ease of access to drugs at work means that it is not difficult for nurses to know which will have the desired effect and to get hold of these.

Signs nurses may have an addiction

Although nurses may convince themselves they don’t have a problem or they try to hide this, there may be some outward signs visible to their colleagues and employers that addiction could be an issue for a member of staff. Nurses who work extra hours, but who appear to have extra breaks during a shift could be displaying this behaviour to access and take drugs out of sight. Errors in documentation for medications can be another tell-tale sign; large amounts of controlled drugs might be signed out or medication might be signed as having been given to patients who have already left the unit. Other things to be vigilant for include nurses offering to do extra medication rounds, those recording a high level of medication wastage or patients consistently complaining of pain despite it being documented they have received their pain killers. In the longer term, a nurse whose performance at work declines could also indicate a problem with drug addiction.

Addressing their addiction and aiding recovery

The Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses requires nurses who have a problem with addiction to address the issue if they wish to keep practicing; the same guidelines also require nurses to intervene if they suspect a colleague’s behaviour may place patients at risk. However, the culture that would aid either of these is not always present in healthcare settings, so nursing staff do not feel comfortable disclosing information regarding these.

The fact that addiction is still considered by some as a failing and a consequence of poor will power means that a stigma still exists around admitting that you have a problem with addiction. As with anyone, feelings of fear and guilt exist, along with worries that they will lose their friends and job if their addiction comes to light. It is however even more difficult for nurses or anyone else who works in a healthcare setting, as their addiction breaks professional ethics, endangers patients and both their professional reputation and that of their workplace are at stake. This not only acts as barrier to seeking help, but can also influence the level of support provided at work. Colleagues view them more strictly than their patients struggling with addictions and do not show the same level of compassion towards them.

Those nurses who recognize their problem as an illness are more likely to seek help by themselves; they will be respected for admitting their illness rather than being reported. Colleagues and workplaces who take the same viewpoint regarding addictions are also more likely to be supportive of staff affected by them. Offering help with addictions is indeed more beneficial to all involved than considering dismissal; this can be provided by employee services or independent healthcare services. Not only does it allow patient protection, but entry into treatment is more likely to lead to a full recovery than trying to overcome addiction alone. Research suggests that for those nurses taking part in an addiction program as many as 80% may be able to return to practice, with only 25% suffering a later relapse. Remaining in employment also provides the financial means to participate in treatment for medication addiction. However, nurses still need to be aware that addiction impacts on their practice, that they may risk losing their nursing license and the police may be involved if they are found to be diverting drugs for their own use.

While employers play an important role in developing effective strategies for controlling access to controlled drugs, they also need to address working conditions, as these can often be a cause of turning to prescription medications or illegal substances. Although the safety of patients is of prime importance, promoting the health and well-being of their staff should not be neglected. Open communication within the healthcare settings can be facilitated by discussing the problems of substance abuse, creating an atmosphere where staff feel they can report problems regarding themselves or another person. Employers also have a duty to ensure they provide their staff with time to participate in rehabilitation programs and then support nurses on their return to work.

 Lily McCann


January 24th, 2013 | General Nursing | 7 Comments

Breaking the Silence: The Effect of Bullying Within Nursing

Once you are out of nursing school and land your first job at a hospital or health care centre, excitement and anticipation are two emotions that you should be feeling, but fear and irritation are not. Unfortunately this may change after you have started your new job, and one reason why this may happen is the issue of bullying in the workplace. Bullying among nurses can also be referred to a lateral abuse, or sometimes horizontal violence, but all these terms basically mean the same thing. It is bullying, whether physical or mental, among nurses and their peers.

If you think that bullying among nurses is not something you really have to worry about, then think again. It is anything but a rare thing among nurses across North America, and the American Nurses Association/Canadian Nurses Association/Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions have some worrying statistics on this subject. Almost half of all nurses and health care professionals who responded to a survey carried out by the association said that they had seen verbal abuse in their workplace. To add to that, 43% of all the nurses who responded to the survey said that they themselves had experienced some kind of threatening body language at work.

What to Look Out For

There can be things big and small to look out for, and some things you might think will not pass for bullying at all. Perhaps you hear a colleague talking behind another’s back about an issue instead of being upfront and talking to the person directly. It could be something like seeing a fellow nurse making faces or raising eyebrows when another colleague makes a comment about something. Even these seemingly trivial things are bullying, and can lead to much more severe types of bullying. The end result could be a nurse refusing to assist a colleague that is bullying them, or carrying out acts of sabotage to land their victim in a bad situation. This type of behavior can be very dangerous within nursing, as it can lead to detrimental effects on patients.

Terrible Effects

The effect that bullying has on nurses and the communication networks between the whole team of nurses at any workplace is terribly detrimental. Individual nurses who are the target of bullying can become depressed, stressed out, and suffer from panic attacks. Lateral violence not only puts the nurse being subject to it at risk, but also damages overall workplace safety/USworkplacesafety. By feeling the effects of bullying, a nurse’s diminished demeanor can then go on to affect the quality of care they provide for their patients. A larger effect can be felt by the health organization as a whole, as nurses begin to feel low morale and productivity drops.

Speaking Out

If you think that this sort of stuff is normal, and just part of progressing through the ranks as a nurse then you are sadly mistaken. While bullying amongst nurses is a problem, it can be dealt with if something is done about it. Don’t stand for bullying in any form, and contact human resources or management as soon as it begins. All health organizations should have strict anti-harassment policies in place so that staff can report violations with confidence and know that something will be done about it. When the health organization you work for does not have these types of policies in place, then you should speak to management about it. If you are still worried about how to deal with a particular instance of bullying, you can find out lots of information about what to do by looking at nursing blogs. If you feel like you are getting no-where, remember that you don’t have to be put in a position you don’t want to be in. If you have no choice but to walk away from a job, don’t be afraid to do it.

Have Some Respect

There will almost always be some people who you work with that you do not get on with, or are just as friendly with as other work colleagues, and this is normal. What is should not be normal is treating anybody you work with less respect that another. As you read earlier, bullying not only breaks down vital lines of communication between nurses, it can also lead to cases of patients feeling the effects too. Bullying should not be accepted in any workplace, and in a nurse’s workplace the effects of bullying can be life threatening. Don’t stand for it, and help everyone to be able to work in a safe and comfortable workplace.

Written by Lisa McCann

Secrets to a New Nurse’s Success

January 14th, 2013 | General Nursing | 2 Comments

Entering into the often fast-paced world of nursing can be daunting; no amount of training can completely prepare you for some of the sights you may see or situations you may find yourself involved in. There are also some aspects of this profession that will not be realized or learnt until some experience in the work environment has been gained. This is where the experience of others can be used to help boost your initial success within the workplace, and also make your job a little bit easier.

The Need for Speed

Being able to aid someone quickly and efficiently can be tough in stressful situations. Many new nurses will enter into a situation where they feel like they are going half the speed of everyone else in the room, like they are disorganized, or just that they feel completely overwhelmed, so feeling this way should not dishearten you or worry you. The key here is to remain as unflustered as possible; the more experience you gain the more you will naturally react to a situation that is happening, and before you know it you’ll be able to handle a situation without thinking about speed – it will become a natural response mechanism.

Little Tips Make a Big Difference

Sometimes there are little tips and tricks you can learn over a period of time when dealing with certain patients, or by getting advice from an experienced nurse; however going into the workplace with some tips already known can put you in a brilliant position to help keep your patients happy and your confidence levels high.

Let’s start with bed-bound patients. Spending all day lying on a mattress can often cause patients to get pressure ulcers in a very unlikely place – their heels. There is an easy fix for this; simply take a pillow or other soft object and place it in a position that allows the heels to hang freely without any pressure on them. This is an excellent tip to know as it keeps the patient comfortable in what could otherwise be a very uncomfortable situation.

Another tip for keeping patients happy and comfortable involves the insertion of an IV. As many nurses know a significant amount of time can be spent re-inserting IVs. Often a generous helping of tape on the IV site can help to lessen the need for re-inserting the IV; however be sure the tape is not compromising the skin. Furthermore, labelling and dating IVs can make changing the lines in a timely fashion much easier.

You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit, so don’t use gloves that don’t! At the start of your shift collect some boxes of gloves in your size and place them into the rooms of your patients. This means you have easy access to correctly sized gloves at all times, and as gloves can tear so easily this is a necessity. Remember, things like bathing patients or general cleaning up are tasks which can easily cause gloves to tear, so be sure to remember this and change gloves very regularly.

Your job as a nurse can get messy, and although it is not a particularly nice thought there are some precautions you can take with patients to help them remain comfortable; especially those that suffer from bowel incontinence. Protect sensitive areas on a patient with a petroleum jelly based product such as Vaseline. This not only protects the patient in sensitive areas but it stops any bowel incontinence from sticking to the skin of the patient.

Help the other nurses when they have a large volume of work to do and you find yourself with a relatively relaxed schedule. Doing this will not only earn you respect, but could also gain you some extra help should you need it when you find yourself with a very hectic schedule. Accepting assistance is not a sign that you are incapable of doing all the work – hospitals are very busy places – it just proves that you know your boundaries and would rather get a job done well with some help, than rushing through it alone. This also keeps patients happier as they feel like they are receiving proper care and attention.

Most importantly when you have just begun a career in nursing do not be afraid to ask questions. You may feel embarrassed to ask something but this is how you will learn and grow as a nurse. Find somebody you feel is trustworthy such as an older, experienced nurse. This will give you the confidence to ask any questions you want to be answered, without the worry or embarrassment of thinking you may be judged for not knowing something.

Lily McCann is a health writer who works with medical professionals and online healthcare providers to disseminate information.

WINN-NTF 2011 Recap

June 18th, 2012 | General Nursing, New Graduate Issues | 3 Comments

Thinking of all the nurses gathered together at CNA biennium in Vancouver this week makes me nostalgic for the great company and intriguing dialogue I experienced at the last nursing conference I attended – WINN-NTF 2011.

WINN-NTF (Workplace Integration of New Nurses-Nursing The Future) is a conference for managers, educators, mentors, preceptors, faculty, human resources, new graduates, students, government, professional associations and unions to share knowledge, experiences and strategies that promote successful integration of new nurses in the practical setting. Last December the conference was hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a particularly special event for me as it was my first WINN-NTF conference, and it was hosted in the city where my own transition into professional nursing practice took place a few years back!

Here’s a video that captures many of the moments shared at WINN-NTF 2011. At the end of the video is a compelling narrative shared by Krista Smith, RN, BScN, MN(s), Nursing The Future’s Cape Breton Liaison. Krista shared a very intimate account of her experience with nursing professional role transition, which held the entire room of conference delegates captivated and left them moved by her story. The dialogue that ensued during the question period following the New Graduate Panel gives testament to the significance of New Graduate Transition for novice and seasoned nurses alike.

Whether you attended this conference in person, have come across this video by another avenue, or missed out on WINN-NTF 2011 altogether, this video is a must-see recap!

Angela Espejo

CNA Sneak Peek! New Graduates in the Emergency Department

June 14th, 2012 | General Nursing, Healthcare System, New Graduate Issues | 0 Comments

Come find us at convention!

The CNA Biennium is upon us! The event, in lovely Vancouver, BC, is just days away. I won’t be attending in person, but I’ll be keeping updated via our NTF representatives and other friends who are attending the convention, as well as the live streaming that CNA is coordinating! The official CNA Facebook page, Twitter account (@canadanurses), and the convention hashtag (#CNAconv2012) are also sure to be a-buzz with convention excitement.

Readers, are any of you going to convention? What sessions are you looking forward to, and what do you want to take back to your work environments? Anyone presenting a poster or concurrent session? Will this be your first time in Vancouver, or are you a West Coast regular? If you are a first-time visitor to the city (or first time in a while), make sure to click on the “Vancouver, BC” link above – it directs to the Tourism Vancouver website and blog, which are loaded with local area tips!

Our Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Judy Duchscher, is presenting her work on the integration of new graduate nurses into emergency departments at a concurrent session entitled “Proceed With Caution! Integrating Newly Graduated Nurses Into An Emergency Department“. NTF Leader Sarah Painter, RN, BN, is co-presenting with Dr. Duchscher to share her perspective as an emerging professional RN working in the St. Boniface General Hospital Emergency Department in Winnipeg, MB.

Here are some areas that you’ll see covered at their concurrent session:

  • The preparation for, and integration of professional graduates into the dynamic climate of the contemporary workplace today, which is a continuing challenge to institutions of higher education and employers, as well as administrators and labour policy makers across North America.
  • Equally, the challenges of caring for an increasingly complex patient demographic, which are being made worse by reductions in, or the misappropriation of nursing human resources and diminishing practice support resources that threaten the quality of care that nurses can provide.
  • Perhaps hardest hit in these ‘do more with less’ times, the high-acuity practice areas that see the most unstable, least predictable and sickest on our health continuum; emergency departments and critical care units. Though some research and evidence of support initiatives exist regarding the practice of hiring newly graduated nurses into a critical care environment, this is not the case for emergency departments.
  • Insight into the experience of transitioning newly graduated nurses into a mid-western Canadian emergency department. Aside from anecdotal claims of this hiring practice, the primary author is one of few researchers who has published on this approach to staffing an emergency department from the perspective of advancing nursing practice and optimizing patient care outcomes.
  • The challenges and potential consequences of this staffing practice on new graduates and their experienced colleagues, as well as on patient safety and care outcomes. Recommendations for effective ways to identify, nurture, and integrate new high acuity nurses.

You may also find interest in Dr. Duchscher’s publication with co-author Dr. Florence Myrick, a Professor and the Associate Dean of Teaching with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing:

  • Duchscher, J. B. and Myrick, F. (2008), The Prevailing Winds of Oppression: Understanding the New Graduate Experience in Acute Care. Nursing Forum, 43: 191–206. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6198.2008.00113.x

If you see any NTF friendly faces at convention, be sure to say hello! We love nothing more than connecting and sharing dialogue with fellow nurses! In addition to Dr. Duchscher and Sarah Painter’s concurrent, lookout for:

  • Kendra Ayers, Heather Dickie, and Jennifer Parsonage, part of the emerging leaders pre-convention planning committee, participating as presenters with CNA’s pre-convention workshop, “Shaping nursing today for tomorrow: A call to action” on Sunday, 17 June
  • Throughout convention, Sophia Lepore and again the lovely Sarah Painter, womanning the NTF booth on the Exhibitor Floor (Table 38 on this map) … who knows, you may also the other leaders at the booth, as well!
  • Of course, our enthusiastic Executive Director, Dr. Judy Duchscher

Enjoy convention!

Angela Espejo
NTF Leader

The Patronizing Hat

January 23rd, 2012 | General Nursing | 2 Comments

My manager approached me recently and asked if I would consider being a preceptor. My first reaction was, “YIKES! Really? Me? But I’m still new to this whole nursing thing myself.” But after thinking it through, I reminded myself, “You have been nursing for fours years now, you really aren’t that new any more.”

I knew that I eventually wanted to be a preceptor and mentor new graduates coming into the nursing profession. I wanted to be that one nurse who could inspire the next generation, the ‘go-to’ nurse that everyone felt comfortable talking to and asking questions… I guess I just didn’t picture it happening so soon!

Evidently, I did agree to be a preceptor, as I thought it would be a good learning opportunity not only for my student, but for me as well.

My student was fantastic! He was an eager and quick learner and our personalities matched perfectly. We established good communication right off the bat and would consistently try to be on the same page. We were open with each other in terms of our teaching and learning styles. My student would express his satisfaction (or dissatisfaction!) as to how I was teaching, so I could change my technique to accommodate his learning. Closer to the end of the preceptorship period, I started to give my student more room to grow and become independent. I was trying to teach him what it would be like once he graduated and didn’t have me there as a safety net. I began to have higher expectations of him since he was doing so well, and would give him increasingly challenging tasks to complete.

There was one instance where I quickly recognized how easy it is to put on the “patronizing hat”. I have heard so many stories from new graduates where seasoned nurses have “eaten their young” and instead of lifting them up and teaching them, the senior nurse kept them low to the ground, making them feel incompetent or inferior. Unfortunately, I had, in one instance, become one of those nurses. I had given my student a hard assignment, which he completed for the most part independently, but had missed a couple of things. I started to patronize him stating, “You should know this” and “it’s obvious what you are doing wrong.” At that moment, I felt powerful because I knew the answers and he didn’t; I had the knowledge and he didn’t; I was senior and he was junior. And just like that, I had become one of those nurses whom I had vowed never to be like, because I know what it feels like to not have the answers, not have the knowledge, and be junior.

I was so thankful that I recognized what I was doing, and I was able to quickly stop my thought process and apologize to my student. I saw that I was jeopardizing the learning environment by putting him on the spot with other nurses watching and judging, and that I was treating him disrespectfully in an uncalled for manner.

It is so surprising to me that having been a part of Nursing The Future for the past several years, and studying about horizontal violence (even having experiencing it myself!), that I got caught up in it, too. However, I think BECAUSE of these factors, I could easily recognize my actions and correct them appropriately before it got out of hand or disrupted my student’s learning.

As nurses, I believe we need to consistently reevaluate our practice, not only focusing on how to conduct our patient care, but also on our teaching technique; throughout our practice, we especially need to be weary of the horizontal violence that can so easily creep up on us.

Lindsey White

Lindsey with a thank-you card from her student at the end of his preceptorship :)




November 1st, 2011 | General Nursing | 1 Comment

I remember the first time I admitted I needed help…

I work on a surgical floor, which tends to be quite busy at times. After shift report my LPN partner and I divided up the pts and began our morning routine. Everything I did seemed to be taking up more time than usual that morning and soon I was running way behind. I was to be on first break that day I began scrambling to get everything done. As my partner started finishing up her morning work she turned to me asking if I needed any help with anything. A week ago, at this point I would have said “no, I’m ok.”. Whether I didn’t know it, or just didn’t want anyone else to know it, the fact was, I was drowning.

Instead of trying to hide it, I admitted it to my partner that day and said, “yes please! I really need some help right now!”. She jumped right in to help me and within fifteen minutes the two of us had completed most of my morning work. I went for break that morning about five minutes late and the rest of the day ran on time and went off without a hitch. I even managed to have fun and go home with a smile on my face.

I learned a very valuable lesson that day… the statement “ask for help when you need it”. My partner wasn’t angry at me for falling behind that morning, she simply said, it could have happened to me. Instead of me spending the rest of my day trying to catch up, going home upset feeling frustrated and alone, I felt like I was part of the team . Verbalizing that I needed help, and the events that followed made me realize that successful nurses work as a team. Teamwork isn’t just helping your partner when they need it, but also being able to ask for help when you need it, so together, your day goes by smoothly.

Catherine LeFebvre, NTF Saskatchewan New Graduate Leader