Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Best Practices for Clinical Support Nurse Education & Orientation

Connie Cameron RN, BScN, MN (candidate)

Having worked in various roles at SickKids, I have been fortunate to develop skills outside of the clinical focus. Despite these many experiences, the successful application and completion of the RNAO Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship (ACPF) enabled me to consolidate my professional interests and knowledge through providing dedicated time to focus on structured goals, while learning from my robust mentorship team.

My overall goal for learning was to enrich my project management skills through the creation of best practice recommendations relevant to the orientation and professional development of the Clinical Support Nurse (CSN) role at SickKids. Throughout the fellowship period, I was able to explore objectives related to developing data collection tools, analyzing multiple sources of input and compiling final recommendations for stakeholder consideration.

Through the use of the dedicated time provided, I thoughtfully completed several project planning modules, including case study scenarios, which allowed me to immediately apply my knowledge into practice through my fellowship goal. In addition, my subsequent enrollment in my Master’s degree program allowed me to advance my application of this knowledge related to program and project planning. Through my ACPF time, I was then able to join my practical and formal knowledge to advance my project goals and complete project planning tools to help guide my work.

In addition to advancing my planning knowledge, I further developed my professional network and interests as I discussed opportunities within charge nurse roles with practice leaders outside of my organization. With support from my primary mentor, I was able to develop comfort and skill in making professional connections with the aim of gathering information in a thoughtful and pragmatic way. Moreover, the ACPF process allowed me time to highlight my professional interests in an academic way, which enabled my successful acceptance to present findings at the upcoming Nursing Leadership Network conference in Toronto, Ontario.

Alongside the completion and advancement of my project goals, I gained a great appreciation for the application writing and tracking processes for the ACPF process. Spending time to thoughtfully craft a project abstract, learning plan, and develop a team of mentors was invaluable to my future career in nursing. Having received much experience with developing my own application, I have been able to provide mentorship for future ACPF applicants to focus their learning needs and develop sound goals related to their individual learning and project ideas.