Thursday, September 21, 2006

how to offer clinical support

I’m struggling with how best to offer clinical support to graduates.

Which is a bit of a problem, seeing as my job title is ‘Clinical Support Nurse’. I’m supposed to be in there, helping the graduates develop, guiding and supporting them, assessing and providing feedback that will move them forward – not wondering how on earth to go about it!

I seem to travel around in circles. When I try and support the graduates by observing their practice, asking questions and providing feedback they complain that I make them nervous. Because of my presence they don’t nurse the way they usually would. The implication here is that my feedback is irrelevant since they wouldn’t normally make those mistakes. I’m only partially convinced on this one, but what can I say – having me in the room does change the dynamics.

Recently I listened to the graduate’s feedback, and adjusted my practice, taking on a friendly, supportive, 'alongside' role. Not that I wasn't friendly before! But now I don’t question them too much about their caseload; I give advice and make suggestions without expecting them to come up with their own answers; I educate about any unfamiliar interventions (did that before too!); I assist with the work as much as possible, hoping that they will observe my practice and learn by osmosis; I observe their practice very subtly and feedback gently. It’s all very nice, except now they complain that it’s confusing with two people working in the room – they can’t organise themselves properly. They want to be observed and given feedback about their normal practice!

What’s a clinical support nurse to do??!

I’m on the hunt now, for the best way to provide support in the clinical setting. Any ideas out there?


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