Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Pain Assessment and Management for the Cognitively Impaired Patients

New Era Grace Le
Trillium Health Partners

My 3-month journey as an RNAO Advance Clinical Practice fellow has indeed been an eye-opener in many ways. Although I realized from the beginning that it will be a disciplined self-learning endeavor, I did not expect the doors of opportunity it will open for me. I had the privilege of sitting-in on committee meetings that enabled me to have a better understanding of the intricacies involved in implementing best-practice guidelines. I gained a full appreciation of the elements that impact the process of change implementation through the principles of Knowledge Translation, shadowing experts and an ongoing interaction with the stakeholders of the change process. My mentors’ guidance and genuine concern for me to succeed is an important thread that helped hold this fellowship till the end. The knowledge and experience I have learned are priceless and would have been perhaps, impossible to achieve had I not decided to get out or my comfort zone (i.e. my bedside nursing work). Not to be misunderstood, I do have a strong appreciation of my work as a frontline nurse. I have always made it part of my day to always remind myself that I can make a difference, one patient at a time.

I remained proactive during the whole fellowship period by ensuring that my pace corresponds to the expectations I have detailed in my Learning Plan. I communicated to my mentors the progress I have made on a regular basis and did not hesitate to ask for their guidance. I saw to it that I remained open to their insights into the issues at hand. I engaged stakeholders by making sure that I convey clearly, my goals and objectives and listened/responded to their feedbacks and concerns accordingly. I think that the biggest challenge for me was to learn to communicate in the most professional and effective manner with leaders of my organization and my colleagues alike.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned during the past twelve weeks is one so succinctly written by Batalden and Davidoff (2007), “Everyone in health care must recognize that they have two jobs when they come to work each day: doing the work and improving it.” I take pride with the hard work and the overall success of this fellowship. Lastly, my hope is that, as an RNAO fellow, I have served as an inspiration and a good example to my peers and continue to make best practice a part of my daily nursing.

My fellowship has influenced my nursing practice now and into the future through the knowledge and understanding I gained on how evidence-based practice can be implemented not only in pain management but in all areas of nursing. I am currently pursuing job opportunities that will allow me to practice in a clinical setting that can fully harness my newly acquired knowledge and skills in pain management. I am also currently completing my application for a master of science in nursing degree with the goal of acquiring more knowledge and training that will contribute to the advancement of nursing as a discipline. I have been encouraged to pursue leadership roles in best-practice implementation and I am currently looking into possible opportunities. Lastly, on a day to day basis, I will strive to be an example of a nurse that has made it part of her practice to implement evidence-based nursing.

Learn more about Advanced Clinical/Practice Fellowships now.