“All I did was roll and tape these towels to support the NICU patient’s feet”
“Really? You think this is innovative? All I did was wrap the trachea tube around my stethoscope to protect the tubing.”
There I was listening to these nurses next to their patients essentially describing how they were making for their patients, without even flinching. My team and I spent 60,00 miles last year finding and having conversations like these throughout hospitals around America. We heard stories about the devices, the patients that inspired them, the tools and the process. Our challenge was not finding these examples of making, but rather convincing the nurses who made them that—yes!—silk tape and towels as patient support structures are a healthcare innovation worth noting. It’s the everyday making that’s saving our patients, not just the grandiose ideas that are incubated over 10 years. We call them MakerNurses.
June went by in a whirlwind! #NASN2015 was just a few weeks ago, and I attended as not only a poster presenter, but an exhibitor with the Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program. I was so fortunate to be asked to participate in the exhibitor booth with many other past fellows of the program. We were able to share details of the program with many school nurse colleagues, and meet some of the new Fellows who will be coming through the program in July. I am having fun running the @JJSHLP Twitter feed, and we took a lot of pictures during the conference at our booth. Check out their Facebook page, as well as the JJSHLP website for more details on the program.
Also in June I finished up school on my campus, and said goodbye to a lot of wonderful families, students and teachers from the elementary school where I worked. I love that I can stay connected with many of them through Facebook and other social media channels. It will be so nice to watch my former students grow up from a distance. The end of school was bittersweet, though. I have worked as a school nurse for the past six years, and I can honestly say they have been six of the most productive years of my career, in terms of opportunities and advancement. I remember vividly a colleague trying to dissuade me from entering the school nurse profession, on the basis that it would stall my career, and hurt me professionally. As this was someone I admired and respected very much, her words did give me pause. But I went forth anyway, and have never looked back and/or regretted any decisions during my school nurse career path. It has opened me up to a multitude of new opportunities that I honestly do not think I would have discovered in another nursing specialty. I have been connected to several mentors that have helped and encouraged me along the way. I learned a lot about myself, and on the rare occasions when I look back on my past professional journey prior to school nursing I cringe at how I handled many situations.
I’ve learned from all those experiences, however, and going forward I now know what not to do. I’ve also learned not to let others limit my thinking as to what I should or should not try to do to grow myself professionally. And by that I don’t mean I just go blazing into new opportunities without seeking guidance from mentors and other colleagues. But now I don’t limit myself to “Well, I’m just a nurse, and since I’ve never done XYZ before, I can’t do it now.” I love the quote from Marissa Mayer above- it was a poster on the wall of the elementary school I worked at, and it really struck me the first time I saw it. I snapped a pic of it, and refer to it often, when I am thinking about starting a new venture.
With only 13 days left in the school year, things seem to be wrapping up quickly. The end of year flurry of getting my clinic closed up for summer vacation has commenced. The last day of school will be bittersweet for me, because I have decided not to return to my elementary campus next year. With only three classes left before I graduate with my Masters in Healthcare Informatics, I decided the time was right to go ahead and start looking for a new job. I’m optimistic that my unique nursing background along with my Masters degree will make me a good candidate for an Informatics position. So keep your fingers crossed for me!
I’m still going to stay in touch with my school nurse colleagues, and I will be attending #NASN2015 next month to present my poster on social media. I also plan to keep working with the J&J School Health Leadership Program, which I’m really excited about. (Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, by the way.)
Stay tuned for all the posts from #NASN2015. Jessica Porter has some great activities in store for the NASN Twitter mentors.
Great article about the importance of nurses publishing their work:
“And something else is lost when nurses don’t write about what they do—the opportunity to let other health care providers and the public know the real scope of our role in health care. Few people are aware of the true contribution that nurses make to health care both at the bedside and beyond. There is still a lack of understanding about the complexity of nurses’ roles as clinicians, let alone the work we do in the policy arena, on social justice issues, with community health (locally, nationally, and globally), and in developing innovative models of care.”
I have three pages left in my last assignment of the semester. THREE PAGES. And I am literally limping over the finish line, folks. I love to write! I can write all kinds of interesting stuff when the occasion calls for it. And I have enjoyed this particular class. But for some reason I am STUCK on the last three pages of this last paper of the semester. Facebook check? Done. Twitter accounts managed for the day? Done. E-mails answered? Done. Daily perusal of LInked In for new job postings? Done. Done again. Multiple times. And there sit those three pages, still not writing themselves yet.
So I wasn’t able to attend the ANIA annual conference this year, but I have been following all of the goings on via #ANIA15. I have been so fortunate to be a part of the ANIA Social Media workgroup chaired by the fantastic Dr. Cheryl Parker, and we have been tweeting with @ANIAInformatics– Cheryl directly from the conference, and me from home. Hopefully next year I can attend in person!
If you’re like me and couldn’t make it to HIMSS15 this year, you can follow along with all of the posts via Twitter at #HIMSS15. For someone new to the industry such as myself, following conference posts is a great way to keep up with the latest and greatest, and get a sense of what is important in the field.
Also check out the posts from the American Nursing Informatics Association at @ANIAInformatics. They are at HIMSS15 as well!