I am now a Master's prepared nurse with a specialization in nursing education. Through perseverance and timing, I am now the nurse educator at a local hospital for surgical services. Brought together by the director of education and informatics, the educators at the hospital I work at had the most amazing conversation.
Let me start by setting the scene. Currently, there is a push for hospitals to have nurses take more responsibility and autonomy in their practice. This usually involves some sort of shared governance model, in which front line nurses form a committee and decide on practice and projects for the department. Until recently, educators have been left out of this loop, serving mainly in an advisory role to these unit-based councils. The educators had fallen into the trap of having the departments or the councils decide the practice of the nurse educators. More over, the nurse educators allowed it to happen.
This discussion started to change that practice. The director came in and said, what services do we offer to the departments that we feel should be owned by education, and which ones are better left to the departmental leadership. The educators of NICU, Med/Surg, Critical Care, Nurse Residency, and myself were involved. We talked about what we should be involved in and which tasks were to revert back to the departments. essentially coming up with a menu of services that we can offer that are of value to the hospital and use us to the best of our abilities. In, essence, we took control of our practice and it was very freeing. My fellow educators and I challenged the status quo, challenged each other and our ingrained notions, and came up with the beginning of a model for nursing education practice at the hospital. This is what empowerment looks like and feels like, and it is intoxicating.
Why am I writing this? I have long encouraged my nurses to tell their stories and I came to the realization recently that I have not been telling mine. I want to empower nurses through sharing of stories and ideas to enrich their lives and take control of their practice. I hope to continue to tel my stories, past and current, to accomplish this goal.