Monday, August 28, 2006


As I’ve said before, feeling like an impostor is normal. Doing nothing to move on is the problem! Which is exactly the situation I’ve been in.

I’ve tiptoed around the wards feeling out of my depth, developed the art of avoidance, and hidden how uncertain I feel from the world. This in turn has left me feeling ineffective – I’ve never really mastered how to assess, educate and support graduates.

What I really want is to move on from this place, to develop the skills I need in order to offer excellent clinical support and to achieve a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from the work I do. To facilitate this, two weeks ago I met with my boss to develop a professional development plan (PDP). It wasn’t all bad news!

We reviewed the positives of my performance, and I have to say I was quite pleased with what I have achieved! I relate well with the graduates and offer them moral support and encouragement; I write objective assessments that reflect the ANMC competencies; and I support the Graduate Nurse Development Program (GNDP) Co-ordinator by presenting education sessions and assisting with administration. On a personal level, I have undertaken 97 hours of continuing professional education! These are some things I can feel positive about.

On the down side, I have not pursued some issues amongst graduates and preceptors because I have felt afraid. Some graduates lap up every little bit of support on offer – they’re the easy ones to work with! Others don’t want help or information. They project an aura that says ‘leave me alone’. I find this intimidating, and sometimes I have not intervened when I have identified practice issues because I did not want to force my way through the graduate’s defences. Very nice of me, but what about the professional development of the graduate?!

At times I don’t confront issues because I lack confidence in my clinical skills. “It’s been a while since I worked on the ward,” or “it’s been an age since I worked in this specialty” – maybe things have changed and I’ve got it all wrong!

The PDP provided an opportunity to review these, and other problems, and to formulate a plan for progress. Here briefly are my goals for the next few months:

· Develop my personal clinical skills – supernumerary shifts on wards, time with the stomal therapy nurse, venipuncture with the blood sisters
· Improve communication – regular meetings with CNMs, attendance at ward meetings, improved communication with preceptors (newsletters etc)
· Increase knowledge of supportive practices – literature review of models and/or experiences of others in clinical education and support
· Regular reflection – online journaling and reflective episodes of practice

I feel empowered to change just by writing these goals! They offer hope for change. Now I need to put them into practice and see my dreams for professional development become a reality.


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