Back to nursing care…

Back to nursing care…

One of the greatest opportunities Covid has presented me was the motivation and support to re-engage with my clinical nursing.  As the limitations and restrictions of Covid unfolded, the busy work, the things that make little real difference were quickly pushed aside to reveal the most valuable, most essential things in my life.  The things that make the most difference to me, my family, and the world.  And one of these was my clinical nursing.

It’s been many years since I laid hands on a patient.  I felt an exhilarating blend of terror and excitement.  My terror has slowly given way to a deepening sense of satisfaction with each day I practice.

Now, I didn’t just dive in!  I am neither that brave nor stupid!  I have a lot of support.  I was fortunate to be granted a scholarship to do the Australian College of Nursing’s online program.  Perfect for refreshing the fundamental knowledge that underpins our practice.   I have since started a supervised hands-on Refresher Program with Ballarat Regional Health. After 2 weeks of simulated training, I was placed on a medical ward where I will be for 10 weeks.

Possibly the most salient lessons I have realised so far are:

  • Care has not changed! To care for another person, I mean really care for them will always be the centerpiece of nursing. This is where nurses make the biggest difference in each individual’s life. Every moment nurses connect with the person in the bed can either make that person feel safe, seen, and valued, or not.  So, while I might be slow, tentative, and know less than those around me, I know how to care.


  • Shifts are still flat out and busy, but patients are way more acute – Depending on who you work with, the shift can be calm and organised, or frenetic and stressful. Note to self – Keep Calm and Care!


  • Clinical assessments, responses, and procedures are more guided by evidence – based forms and pathways than ever before. This, I have to tell you makes me feel so much more confident and safer.  I don’t have to know everything or hold everything in my head.  I just follow the process!


  • I have changed – In my youth, I may have worried about not knowing stuff and what people might think of me – I don’t worry now!  I know why I am here – it’s to nurse people.  If I make friends too that is a bonus but not the end game.


  • What you need to know is only a question away – I love learning and am really good at it. I am like a 3-year old – “but why…but why…but why?”  I don’t have to be the cleverest person in the room because I am surrounded by brilliance.  There is always someone there to help me and I have Google in my pocket – Yes, another big change!


  • Nursing managers don’t need to manage autonomous professionals – My experience on the ward has absolutely validated what I know to be true. Indeed, the whole Clinician 2 Manager suite of training programs is based on this fundamental premise.  Managers who manage professionals (i.e. nurses, doctors, allied health professionals) have to manage at a much higher level than managers who manage less skilled and more dependent teams.  For example, the ANUM is the chess player – not the chess piece.  They keep a view of the whole board, where the pieces are, and when to move them.

I will be exploring the role of the ANUM and NUM in fostering care, calm and safe practice in coming articles.

I am interested in your thoughts on this.  Leave a comment.

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