Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Exploring Child and Family Presence at Nursing Shift Handover in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit

Nicole LeBlanc
The Hospital for Sick Children

The Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship (ACPF) offered through the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) gave me the opportunity to explore an area of nursing practice that I was very keen to learn more about.The overall learning goal of my fellowship was to acquire knowledge and skill in the design, implementation and evaluation of qualitative research in paediatric critical care.The primary focus of the fellowship was to explore cardiac critical care nurses’ experience of having families involved in nursing shift-handover.

In September 2013, the Hospital for Sick Children launched a project titled ‘Family Presence at Nursing Shift-Handover’.The aim of this project is to inform a practice change by which children and families have the opportunity to participate in nursing shift-handover. Research studies from adult centres have identified some of the benefits of engaging both patients and their families in nursing shift-handover however, very little is known about this practice in paediatric critical care.

With endless support from my mentoring team, I was able to achievemy overall learning goal. In particular, I was able to develop and conduct a quality improvement project using a qualitative focus. I had an opportunity to submit a quality improvement project application (addendum), collect and analyze data (10 nursing interviews in total) and share the findings of the project at an international conference.

After completing the quality improvement project (addendum), I was given the opportunity to present my fellowship work at the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society 10th International Conference in Miami, FL. At the conference I was able to share the findings from the project with individuals from large paediatric centres in the United States, as well as learn about their experiences related to similar projects.

The fellowship experience provided me with an opportunity that otherwise would have been difficult to achieve, especially this early in my nursing career. Since completing the fellowship I recently started a new role at the Hospital for Sick Children as a Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator.I believe that my experiences during the fellowship helped prepare me for this next step in my nursing career.

I am very honoured and thankful for being offered this opportunity. I would like to thank both the RNAO and my mentoring team for their ongoing support and encouragement.

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