I would really REALLY like you to contribute to the Book of Nurses in celebration of International Nurses Week this year (May 6-12).
Your story matters.
OK then, to start off tell us what country/area you live in, how long you have been nursing for, what areas you have worked in and the specialty you currently work in.
I work in Perth at a large private hospital in the Patient Safety and Quality Area. My back ground is in ED where I worked at a variety of Perth hospitals over the years
What made you decide to become a nurse?
Not sure. I didn’t do to well in the Year 12 exams and it blew my chances of becoming a teacher away. A friend of Mums, who was the local hospital matron, suggested nursing as an option. Mum thought it was a good idea. Dad was mortified that his eledest some would choose this as a career as opposed to joining the Bank of New South Wales or working at the front counter of the local shire office.
When I started in 1984, nursing was still hospital based and you got a wage whilst studying, so it seemed OK at the time. I undertook Enrolled Nursing first, fell in love with the opportunity to care for people and share some personal moments with them whilst they were sick. I then decided that it was a career and went to Uni to do the Degree and become an RN
How have you seen the profession change over the course of your career? Do you see a positive future for the nurses that are graduating now?
I suppose, the key thing for me is the value that a university based education provides people with, and what it has done to enhance nursing as a profession, but also that the time away from the bedside cannot be replaced by simulation laboratories and actually being with real patients.
I think we need to find a balance with this and ensure that nursing students get as much exposure as possible to working with real patients and experiencing real nursing.
I am also wondering how we can manage new nurses expectations of the profession and the importance of the role the nurse plays in delivering the fundamental basic care as well as the high tech, complex requirements of patients who are in our care and how the simple things like a kind word, a smile and a gentle touch to help relieve a patient or their family members anxiety and stress.
Tell us a story: an amazing, funny, moving or memorable moment from your book of shifts.
Lots of great stories from working in ED. The key reason they are great is because of the people that you work with. Over the years I have worked with some amazing and dedicated nurses.
Many years ago I was caring for a lady who had been bitten by a snake whilst gardening. She was OK, but she needed to stay in overnight for observation. She was really dirty from her day in the garden, so I offered to help her freshen up a bit before she went upstairs to the ward.
I asked my colleague (a well renowned ED prankster) to get me some flannels and bowl of warm water. This was dutifully done and the trolley with the bowl on top was pushed into the ED cubicle. I reached over to soak one of the flannels in the water to allow the lady to “freshen up”. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something black in the bowl. The guys had coiled the dead snake that the patient’s husband had brought in, in the bowl. I shrieked like a girl and staggered out of the cubicle, pale and clammy to discover a large group of my colleagues in hysterics outside the cubicle as well to find that patient was also in on the joke.
Not just a nurse: what about when you are not at work? What do you get up to in the rest of your life?
My kids inspire me every day as they grow and learn new things. Both my daughters want to get into the caring professions (nurse, OT, vet, zoo keeper…it changes depending on the game they are playing) which makes me feel great because I am glad they care about people and to want to help.
My wife is an OT who works in children’s disability services. She inspires me every day as she works to make children’s lives better in a system that has limited funding and resources. She advocates about the issues to a whole range of people outside the sector to try and improve it and she gets on with the job of making it better.
I volunteer for another organisation which works in the health services/training environment. I love doing this because I get to work with lots of other like minded people who are keen to help makes people lives better.
Piss and Vinegar: name 3 things that really get under your skin, push your buttons, or generally irritate you at work or outside of work.
I hate people saying “we don’t have the resources to do this”. Sometimes I wish people would just get on with it. Innovation and being creative sometimes has to happen with the $$$. It’s often what’s gets it off the ground and leads to better things being done.
We need to manage our patient’s expectations! Our patients don’t ask for much. They just want to kept informed and be involved in their care. I really dislike health care professionals who see the patient or their family who wants to know more/ask questions or query why something is being done as some kind of interfering or an impediment to them having an easy shift.
Be honest with each other. If someone isn’t pulling there weight on shift let them know. It’s much easier to here it from your peers than have some formal performance management process in place, or worse still a poor patient outcome because no one would say anything. Remember, “We Promote what we Permit”
The nurses desk: What is the one thing you would like to say to the rest of the nurses or general public out there.
Nursing is an amazing profession. I am nearing 28 years in the job, and I have loved every day. Have a think about it as a career.