AN improves my nursing skills

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    I was a nurse's aide in the 1970's and worked evening shift in LTC.

    We'd finish getting patients bathed and put to bed, and we'd have a smoke at the nurse's station and listen to the experienced nurses talk. They'd discuss the patients, the politics, the horror stories, the funny stories, nursing school and things like whether or not nurses should have to wear caps.

    One nurse in particular, Mrs. Griffiths, would take us around to different patients and teach us how to do procedures or let us watch. She was trained in England and she would teach us about the different therapies that the English used. Every time we worked together, she'd share her knowledge with me and I sopped up every word like a sponge.

    Then I married a man who wanted me to quit my job. I stayed home for almost 16 years. In the healthcare world, reorganization and downsizing changed nursing forever.

    When I came back to healthcare, I was stunned at the changes. It wasn't possible to learn from the nurses with decades of experience; they were gone. There was no time to sit around the nurse's station to learn from the experiences of others; the work was never finished. The staff were stressed and unhelpful. Nurses had no time to teach. It was frustrating and upsetting to see therapeutic patient care practices slashed from clinicians' repertoires. There was no time for that. There was no time to teach, no time to learn. Work was a neverending series of heavy physical tasks for the CNA, and an increasingly demanding workload for the nurses.

    Having seen these changes up close, I can honestly say that Allnurses is the equivalent of being able to relax at the nurse's station with the experienced nurses. Here, we can share experiences and knowledge freely. We can learn from each other and teach the new students. We can discuss political issues and vent about having to wear whites.

    In sum, Allnurses performs a vital function by creating a global virtual collegiality that is necessary for our growth as nurses and as a profession.

    I doubt that I would be as good a nurse as I am today without Allnurses.

    Thank you, Brian.

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