Leah here. Some of you may know that I got my start as a Registered Nurse on Unit 61 at the Foothills Medical Centre. Specializing in Pulmonary Medicine and Thoracic Surgery, it was an incredibly intense work environment. Outside of ICU, our patients were some of the most critically ill in the hospital.
Needless to say, it was a challenging place for a newly minted nurse. I remember feeling excited, but also overwhelmed, as my first day approached. My undergraduate program had provided exceptional training, but nevertheless I was a bundle of nerves. After all, I was going to be responsible for people’s health and wellbeing. No pressure! I was completely out of my comfort zone.
Fortunately, there was consideration on the unit for supporting new nurses. I was paired with a veteran named Jerome. In my eyes, and in the eyes of his patients, Jerome was “Super-Nurse”. He was incredibly competent from a technical skills perspective, but more importantly, he had an amazing ability to connect with patients and staff alike.
At the time I considered myself to be lucky to have Jerome as a mentor, however, I did not realize the impact he would have on my approach to nursing. While I was learning the ropes of my new role he supported me every step of the way, while also encouraging and challenging me to define my own practice. More than just supporting my progressing skills, he coached me to discover the impact I wanted to make as a nurse, to identify the steps I needed to take to achieve that goal, and to challenge myself to make it happen.
Looking back, I realize the coaching I received from Jerome was instrumental for my development as a compassionate, competent, and confident nursing professional. I was out of my comfort zone but he believed in my potential and helped me to unlock it.
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