“I would say that there's lots of opportunity for nurses. The pandemic really taught us how to use technology in different ways. We do a lot of telehealth medicine now, which is kind of similar to what we're doing here; we can meet with the doctor or nurse practitioner this way. And, so it's definitely technology that's been coming, and that's been used for a while, but it was brought to the front of the line with the pandemic.” ~ Ana Drummond
(Transcript available below)
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Heidi Higgins: Hi there. I'm Heidi Higgins, and you are listening to K12 On Learning. The Nursing World website says that 21st century nursing is the glue that holds a patient's healthcare journey together. Nursing is not only a profession from yesterday, but with new innovative technologies it has opened up to be an in demand career with many opportunities. Across the entire patient experience and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses are using this new technology to work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual.
There is a shortage of nurses worldwide. The shortage was evident before the pandemic and now in the pandemic aftermath, it is even more critical. Encouraging students to look at this health profession specialty is the goal of the Stride Nursing Club, an organization open to any person who's sixth grade and older. The club meets monthly online, and you can hear professionals, experts, share their experiences and answer questions from participants.
Today, I'm going to open a window into one of these nursing club meetings. Dr. Sherri Wilson RN, the director of Stride Career Prep's Health Program is joining us today. You may remember the interesting personal story she shared on episode last year. Dr. Wilson leads these monthly meetings in the nursing club and today she will introduce you to a couple of medical surgical nurses. Welcome back, Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: Thank you so much for having me. I'm Sherri Wilson and I'm the director for Stride's Health Careers Program and we have two exceptional nurses from Ascension Healthcare with us. Our topic is, Medical Surgical Nursing. Medical surgical nursing is the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and beyond, and medical surgical nurses provide care to adults, the variety of medical issues who are preparing for, or recovering from surgery. We have two exceptional nurses, Ms. Ana Drummond, who is a medical surgical nurse on a medical surgical floor at a hospital within the Ascension Healthcare system. And we also have Ms. Erica Nyquist, who has a medical surgical background and she works on the progressive care unit of a hospital within the Ascension Healthcare system.
Thank you both and there's some unique aspects to medical surgical nursing. There are so many areas within that specialty that you can be exposed to. So if you can talk a little bit about that and describe unique aspects of the specialty and what essential skills are required to be a medical surgical nurse?
Ana Drummond: First of all, being a medical surgical nurse, you get to use all of your nursing skills. Since then, I'm working on a more specialized unit. It's a respiratory unit now, and I don't get to use nearly as many skills as I did as a med surgeon nurse. That's one ofthe things I loved about being a med surgeon nurse. I got to practice all of those skills that I learned in nursing school. I think you have to be very flexible. You have to be able to go with the flow because you don't know what kind of patient you're going to end up getting.
You have to be able to know when to ask for help. You've got to be humble and that you can't know everything. It's okay to ask for help, to ask your leaders for help so that your patient gets the best care. I think that's one of thethings I learned from the most experienced nurses, the best of the best. I learned that you can't know everything. You just have to know where to find the right resources and that's been super helpful for me as a nurse.
Erica: Time management is key. You already know what tasks you're going to be doing for the most part, unless there's those unusual patients that you haven't had. Skills like wound care, medication administration, IV insertions, antibiotic, those things are all included in med surg nursing. Ambulating patients is a big deal and teaching, a lot of education to prevent pneumonia, to prevent blood clots, to prevent complications from being in the hospital. And so you have to be aware of those things and you get that all in your training, though it's a fast paced environment and the 12 hours go by really fast actually once you're in that situation. That's a plus.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of being a nurse and then what are some of the realities?
Ana Drummond: I think the benefits of becoming a nurse is, it's very humbling and grounding, and this is true for all of us. We live in our own day to day lives, and sometimes we forget that maybe other people are struggling. We see that at the bedside, we see peoplein their most vulnerable states. It just reminds you that we're all human and we all need help. For me personally, that's been very helpful.
I think another benefit is just having the medical knowledge, if something's wrong with the family member of yours or your own child or yourself, or if you're just out in public and you see that somebody needs help, you've been trained to do those things. That's another side benefit that I don't think we ever think about when we go into nursing. It's super helpful ingeneral just to know that information.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: What are some of the realities from your perspective?
Ana Drummond: Again, the reality is you see people in very vulnerable states and that can be hard to deal with sometimes, but just knowing that you're there to help them and take care of them, it means a lot. It makes you feel like your work is purposeful and meaningful. I think that it's important to feel like the work that you're doing is good. For me, the reality of it is just meeting people where they're at, and meeting people from all different walks of life. That's super special to me.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: Thanks, Anna. Nurses serve in many different roles and environments. And if you can talk about the many opportunities from your perspectives in nursing.
Erica: In nursing, there's so many different avenues or fields you could go into from medical surgical nursing, or just different areas of nursing. There's such a wide range, babies to OB, to nurse anesthetists, advanced practice nurses and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Actually, I'm in the process of that. Med surg nursing is what was my foundation to get to there. It opens a lot of different things. You can go into management, nurse management, or leadership and move on to be a chief nursing officer. I even thought about that route.
There's so many opportunities you don't just get stuck when you go into nursing, especially med surg nursing. It is definitely a place where you can go onto a different field, a different specialty. It's a good place to start, because you can get your feet in there, get started and then see from other nurses that you work with or from being in the hospital, you can see what other areas there are to work in. There's recovery room, there's OR, the list goes on. There's just so many different options.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: Thank you. Ana, can you talk about this pandemic and also the emergence of technology? Are there emerging opportunities for nurses now from your perspective?
Ana Drummond: Well, I would say that there's lots of opportunity for nurses. The pandemic really taught us how to use technology in different ways. We do a lot of telehealth medicine now, which is similar to what we're doing here. We can meet with the doctor, nurse practitioner this way. So that's definitely technology that's up and coming. That's been used for a while, but it was brought to the front of the line with the pandemic.
Unfortunately we're seeing a lot of nurses leave the workforce too because they saw a lot of really hard things and overcame a lot of really difficult things during the pandemic. And so there's a national nursing shortage. There's a nursing shortage across the world. Before the pandemic we've needed nurses and we still continue to need nurses. So there's lots of room for new nurses. If anybody's interested, yes, please join our nursing community. It's really a wonderful community.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: Absolutely. Thanks Ana, Erica.
Erica: On my unit now we became a COVID unit from the beginning. It was very scary. Can't even explain, but it actually felt like I was a new nurse again, going into other isolation rooms, like tuberculosis rooms but there was more and we are fast paced. Still nursing is fast paced, but putting on the PPE, the protective equipment quicker and then doing what we need to do and get move on to the next patient to get the tasks done that was very time consuming.
So utilizing technology was very helpful with that, using the call system in the room to communicate. You don't want to use your phones, so using the call system. And then also we had doctors call into the room. We used iPads for different telehealth in the room with the patient that didn't need to be physically there. And then we had families through iPads that were up on tripods to see their family member. That was a great story, because I felt like I was helping that family or the liaison or the connection between the family and the patient through that technology.
I would jump to use that. I would say, "Oh, I know we have the iPad. I can go grab that," and they can talk. I think the pandemic's brought us closer together in the nursing community with our families and our colleagues. I do feel that it's affected us, but I'm thankful that I was able to help and be in the forefront of that. So it made me feel needed even more than I did before.
Dr. Sherri Wilson: Thank you both just for your service in nursing and time on the frontline, especially during the pandemic. I just wanted to say that.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you for listening to K12 On Learning, sponsored by Stride. To learn more about online public schools, powered by Stride K12, Stride Career Prep programs that foster lifelong learning or any of the private school or individual course offerings, please go to stridelearning.com or k12.com.
Special thanks to Tree-K Studios for providing the music for us. Remember to subscribe to this podcast and feel free to leave us a good review. We hope you'll join us next time for K12 On Learning.
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