Tutor profile: Lauren C.
Subject: Professional Development
How have you professionally developed throughout your career and how has this given you perspective in your current role?
My initial interest in the medical field started when I joined my local first aid squad at the age of 16. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but quickly fell in love with both the compassion and challenge that EMS requires. From here, I decided to pursue nursing school. I was particularly drawn to nursing because of the many options it provides. Throughout school, I held jobs as an EMT, as well as a secretary, nurse extern, and patient care associate in the hospital. After graduating, I was hired directly into the ICU as a new graduate. I remained in critical care for seven years. I as gained confidence in my bedside nursing role, I volunteered for additional responsibilities, such as precepting, research, and charge nurse. From here, I was promoted to assistant nurse manager in the medical ICU and then assistant clinical director of the post anesthesia care unit. One thing I have learned along my journey is how valuable each and every team member is. It is also important to get individuals involved beyond their daily responsibilities and encourage professional development. I would not be where I am today without the inspiration of other incredible nurses who led by example.
How can you tie your nursing and leadership experience into a tutoring/teaching role?
I worked as a bedside nurse for almost seven years before accepting a promotion as the assistant nurse manager in the medical intensive care unit. This position required much patience, leadership, organization, and accountability, which I believe are skills also applicable to tutoring/teaching. This position also required me to take on many different roles, including educator. I am now the assistant clinical director of the post anesthesia care unit. Despite having extensive nursing experience, moving to a new specialty was eye-opening and required a lot of new learning and engagement. I have assumed a variety of leadership roles, such as preceptor, mentor, VIT team coordinator and charge nurse. These experiences have allowed me to learn and grow personally and professionally. Many of these positions also require me to be a role model and educator to my peers. In May 2018, I completed a dual Masters degree program, consisting of a Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus in leadership, as well as a Masters of Science in Management with a focus in health care administration. These programs were both online and found it to be an amazing and inspiring method of learning. The flexibility that online learning offers allows students to have an adequate school-life balance.
Being a nurse manager/leader can be difficult - What is an example of a time you were challenged in this position and how did you respond?
The COVID-19 pandemic put healthcare providers in a very unique position where it required extra effort to meet the needs of our patients and patients' families. I was working both bedside and as the assistant nurse manager in the Medical ICU (which converted to the Covid ICU) during this time. Patients often felt scared and alone while in isolation, and family members were nervous and mistrustful knowing that they would not be able to visit their loved ones. This required extra time and effort to thoroughly explain the plan and what to expect. In order to overcome this barrier, we advocated to get iPads within our unit. This served multiple purposes: It allowed the healthcare team to communicate freely while in an isolation room, it allowed providers to communicate freely with patients, and it allowed family members to video chat and talk to/see their loved ones. Because families could not be at the bedside, I would often spend extra time with these patients. This included everything from finding the patient's favorite music to listen to, to (most recently) decorating a patient's room for his birthday. I've learned that providing a thorough explanation of what to expect, and then taking a personalized step to go above and beyond, will really make a patients' experience that much better.
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