In both our personal and professional lives, many of us crave the familiar. We gather a certain comfort or peace of mind from having our routines. But where is the line between enjoying our routines and becoming ‘set in our ways’?
According to the old adage, ‘you can’t teach an old dog a new trick’. It’s clear that whoever came up with this saying didn’t know any nurses. Out of necessity, nurses have become adept at acquiring new knowledge and expanding our skills sets throughout our careers.
Indeed, in health care, perhaps more than in any other industry, it’s in everyone’s best interests to avoid becoming set in our ways of doing things. While our professional comfort zone might feel like a safe place, staying there can inhibit the growth and progression of our profession and our careers.
Historically, when I’ve thought about nurses teaching other nurses new skills, I’ve had a preconceived notion that it would necessarily involve a more experienced (or older) nurse teaching a less experienced (or younger) colleague. In the past year, however, this assumption has been turned on its head, thanks in large part to some of the wonderful students I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor.
You see, the team I work on is in the process of integrating mobile tablet technology into our day-to-day jobs. We’re using these wonderful technological marvels to log client visit information, to access key documentation while we’re on the road, to communicate with our employer, colleagues and more. The technology is truly amazing. And it’s clear that these mobile devices will be incredibly helpful to us in getting the best outcomes for our clients.
As a nurse who began her career when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister, however, I have to admit that making the transition from pen and paper to mobile tablets has taken me way outside my comfort zone (please tell me I’m not alone on this?). Noticing my frustration with the learning curve, several of the new practical nursing grads that I mentor have graciously offered to help me. They’ve shown me techniques and shortcuts that have helped smooth my transition to this new technology and saved me valuable time along the way. Along the way, they have demonstrated that education in health care isn’t necessarily a one-way street.
By helping this particular nurse to learn a few new tricks and by easing me out of my comfort zone, they have demonstrated the kind of teamwork, collaboration and support that all of us should be striving for in health care. And for that, I would like to thank them and all of the other nurses out there who embrace collaboration and who selflessly support one another in their practice each and every day.