Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Developing Education Skills to Enhance Skill Acquisition for Nurses in a Rural Hospital

Jo-Anne Black RN CPN(c)
Winchester District Memorial Hospital

It has been my privilege to have engaged in continuous and ongoing professional growth through the opportunity provided by the RNAO and the mentorship process. Through the RNAO fellowship I focussed on the acquisition of knowledge and skills of adult learning with an emphasis on Peri-operative nursing. One of the key activities in this fellowship was to spend time in a post-secondary educational environment, learning skills and strategies instrumental for teaching adult learners. The program consisted of two groups of ten RN learners ranging from new BScN graduates to RNs with 20+ years’ experience. I was mentored by a talented and dedicated team consisting of current RN instructors, and faculty staff who supported me in planning, implementing, executing, and evaluating lessons. I successfully developed and executed lesson plans on a variety of topics and received feedback from adult learners and my mentors.

Initially, this feedback was felt to be critical and hurtful. I found it to be personally hurtful. However, with the support of my mentors, I was able to see this feedback as a way of developing my skills, and thus it was reviewed and integrated into subsequent teaching sessions. One of the unexpected benefits in working in this role at Algonquin College, was that I was able to participate in future program development of the Peri-Operative Certificate program.
The initial activities of my fellowship included reading, researching, and engaging in discussion with adult educators and learners about different methods useful in a simulation settings. I also studied androgyny and theories of adult education. In the latter part of my fellowship, I worked with my mentor, a corporate educator, to develop a staff education/information session at WDMH. With the logistical help of Marcia Foster, I booked a space, planned and executed a six station education session, targeted at all WDMH staff (clinicians and non-clinicians) were welcome to attend. This session, titled “A Sneak Peek into the OR”, provided an opportunity for all staff to see and touch some of the speciality equipment, as well as become aware of some of the patient safety protocols and OR nursing standards. It was well attended with more than 25 feedback forms returned. In attendance was our hospital CEO, Mr. Cholly Boland, who stated “We were all very impressed with your presentation and explanations during the surgical safety drop-in.” Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from the session. At point, I recognized the true value of engaging in the RNAO ACPF.

Moving forward, my skills will be incorporated into the organization through corporate education, orientation of new OR staff and students as well as with hands on training with new equipment. This role has enhanced our education resources and my personal and professional development. Not only will I continue to provide corporate education sessions and act as a resource on an as needed basis, I am currently involved in discussions with the current nursing instructors visiting our facility with students to repeat the OR education sessions, in hopes that it may generate others to consider OR nursing as a specialty.

“Encouraging others can be the catalyst to unleashing their greatness.” Rob Liano

RNAO fellowship is open to all RN’s practicing in Ontario. It is my hope that this project at WDMH will encourage other RNs and RPNs in our organization to seek out and apply for such opportunities for themselves.

It is my plan for the future to instill enthusiasm in other nurses, serving as a role model for other staff and students. I will serve on the mentorship team of a WDMH RN who is in the application process for her own RNAO ACFP. I have been and will continue to encourage colleagues to take ownership in their professional development. Nurses who are committed to developing their practice can only result in better patient outcomes. WDMH can become known as an organization that supports and encourages its staff in their professional and personal growth, and the staff will be known to embrace the challenge and raise the bar in the standard of care. This brings the organization one step closer to Best Practice Spotlight Organization.