Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

What are you an "expert" in on your unit? Becoming the "go-to" guy/gal for ...

Nurses Article   (5,843 Views 23 Comments 786 Words)
by cjcsoon2bnp cjcsoon2bnp (Member) Writer

cjcsoon2bnp works as a ED NP and Clinical Instructor.

8 Articles; 24,176 Visitors; 1,156 Posts

advertisement

No one can be an expert in everything but being a professional nurse means finding a specialty and spending your career learning all that you can to advance the delivery of care and promotion of best outcomes. Within all specialties, there are numerous practices, procedures, and topics to learn and master. The purpose of this article is to (a) help you determine your areas of expertise, (b) achieve recognition amongst your team, and (c) advance the standard of care in your setting.

What are you an "expert" in on your unit?  Becoming the "go-to" guy/gal for ...

All nurses begin with a foundation of basic knowledge instilled during nursing school to which we add specialized knowledge in specific area(s) of practice through continuing education and experience. Developing clinical content mastery requires an extensive amount of time, training and practice as well as a personal commitment to lifelong learning. Being recognized as a content expert amongst our peers can be helpful to instill pride in our work, improve patient care, and promote camaraderie amongst healthcare teams. Following these steps, you can begin your path to becoming a content expert and advancing your professional nursing career.

Step I

Take a moment to examine your specialty and make a list of topics, procedures, and practices. After you make a list, pick a few of the items for which you have expertise, interest and a plan to continue with ongoing education.

Take a few minutes to consider these items and make a list (you can write it out or make the list in your head). For example, my specialty areas are emergency department and psychiatric/mental health nursing and so I make lists for each specialty. A list for emergency nursing could include procedures (e.g. IV access in children, burn/wound care, NG tube insertion, urinary catheterization); practices (e.g. triage, physical assessment documentation, behavioral de-escalation); topics (e.g. acute management of COPD exacerbation, opiate overdose, diabetic ketoacidosis). The list of topics goes on and on so if you are struggling for ideas you can check the professional organizations for your practice area (e.g Emergency Nurses Association [ENA] for emergency nursing).

Consider, have you have ever received feedback from your peers that they admire how you complete ABC? Or do they always ask for your opinion on XYZ? If that is the case you should consider add it to your list.

I like to make a list that includes both my psychiatric/mental health and emergency department nursing experience. In my position as a PMH nurse, I am recognized for my knowledge in psychopharmacology, acute management of substance withdrawal (alcohol, anxiolytics/sedatives, and opiates), and psychiatric nursing assessment documentation. In my position as an emergency department nurse, I am recognized for my ability to verbally deescalate agitated/anxious patients, complete an comprehensive triage assessment, document detailed physical assessments, and obtaining difficult IV access (stronger skills with adults and children versus elderly patients).

Step II

Gain recognition as a content expert by identifying your interest in the topic to peers and management/leadership, volunteering to participate on related committees/groups, completing CEU and/or attending workshops/conferences, and offering to assist or teach peers.

So now that you have figured out your topics of expertise, its time to figure out how to gain appropriate recognition. Keep in mind that this is not accomplished instantly, it takes place over time with experience and practice. Begin with completing CEUs, reading journals, attending workshops/conferences, obtaining specialty certifications and share that information with your unit. Speak to your management team to indicate your interest and see if there are opportunities to join a related committee/group or to provide an in-service to other nurses on the unit. It sounds simple but offer and be willing to assist your peers, they may not ask for a lesson but may appreciate your help in completing a task (such as interpreting an EKG).

Don't forget that no one is an expert in everything and no one likes a no-it-all! Make sure that you acknowledge your areas of weakness and seek the guidance of peers who are content experts in these areas.

Step III

Be an advocate for advancing the standard of care/practice in your unit by contributing your content expertise.

Step III is really just a continuation of Step II because it is not enough to simply possess knowledge, but we must share it and then use it to help others. Examine how your unit or setting approaches a particular situation or condition (e.g. initiating cardiac workup in emergent chest pain, successfully obtaining IV access in young children in community/non-trauma center settings) and start a discussion with nursing leadership, clinical education and direct care staff on how to improve existing practices. If you are suggesting any changes in policies or procedures at your office/facility, make sure that you have evidence-based research to support your recommendations.

We have only scratched the surface of this topic but hopefully, it has inspired you to become the "go-to" guy/girl on your unit for content with your nursing specialty!

So allnurses.com readers, tell me what are you a content expert in and how do you maintain that mastery?

advertisement

cjcsoon2bnp has been a registered nurse (RN) for six years and his specialties are emergency nursing and psychiatric/mental health nursing. He recently completed a MSN in Nursing Education degree and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in family nurse practitioner (FNP) studies. He also teaches as an adjunct clinical instructor and is interested in problem-based learning, ethical dilemmas in nursing, and promoting success in the workplace through professional mentorship.

8 Articles; 24,176 Visitors; 1,156 Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NurseCard has 13 years experience as a ADN and works as a RN.

140 Likes; 3 Followers; 2 Articles; 34,922 Visitors; 2,844 Posts

I consider myself a "go to" person when someone else cannot get a

foley catheter inserted into a female. I swear I have the best aim.

In general, I also seem to be the go-to person for talking to patients

and making them feel calm, comfortable and happy. I seem to have

a very calming presence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

346 Likes; 8 Followers; 141 Articles; 247,062 Visitors; 9,530 Posts

I was the "IV whisperer" in my med-surg days. Even the ER sometimes called me to come start a line in a heroin abuser or someone who just had poor veins. I was also an expert in catheter insertion and was the go-to person when we had a 600+ pound patient come in monthly to have her Foley changed. It made me proud to be a nurse. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Pediatric RN.

197 Likes; 1 Follower; 6,474 Visitors; 549 Posts

I became the go-to IV person for hard sticks very early on in my career. I was in and out of the hospital frequently as a kid and remember being poked 11 times for an IV when I was 12 years old - if I saw the nurses that poked me, I could still point them out because it was such a horrible experience. I vowed to never be nurses 1-10 and instead be that nurse who is able to get even the most difficult stick, and thankfully I have been able to live up to that.

Also, I'm the nurse that the crazy parents/social issue parents seem to love when they hate everyone else :laugh: it's a blessing and a curse :wideyed:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

meanmaryjean has 40 years experience and works as a Nursing Faculty.

49 Likes; 3 Followers; 63,696 Visitors; 7,496 Posts

In my clinical career, I was the go-to girl for transitioning newly-vent dependent kids home.

Now, I talk brand new grad students in off the ledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6,647 Visitors; 1,035 Posts

When I worked in hospitals I was the ABG/F&E guru, great at weaning off vents. Now I'm the grammar and writing guru.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2,001 Visitors; 71 Posts

Trachs, vents, feeding tubes and congenital heart disease/medically fragile children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 Likes; 12,599 Visitors; 751 Posts

I am really good at dealing with difficult families. I am a skilled negotiator!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

applesxoranges works as a ER.

15,027 Visitors; 2,236 Posts

It depends. I am great with the charting system. People will ask me how do I do this? How do I do that? How do I order this? I can make the system work to my advantage.

A second thing is depending on how much sleep I have had and when I woke up, I can sometimes be great at IVs. I am better with the metal tip safety catheters instead of the ones at work usually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

715 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,847 Visitors; 4,073 Posts

I am really good at dealing with difficult families. I am a skilled negotiator!

Me too. When a patient is "difficult", I always seem to be selected to take over care. I absolutely love you go-IV starters. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and works as a RN Supervisor.

269 Likes; 28,451 Visitors; 2,760 Posts

For me it's the computer stuff. For some reason I pick up that stuff pretty quickly and am also skilled at patiently teaching other nurses some of the tricks so they "get it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iluvivt has 32 years experience and works as a Infusion specialtist.

54 Likes; 24,047 Visitors; 2,705 Posts

I am great at getting any tube or catheter in that a patient may need and thus I gravitated toward IV Therapy.While IV Therapy encompasses much more than getting catheters in you must be so much better at than the average nurse and you must be able to get impossible sticks. Yes that is me...I have so many tricks up my sleeve that some nurses just must tell me...I have never seen anyone do that before.I have worked at it but did have this natural tendency to be a good aim. I also am good at documentation and can word facts in a succint and cohesive manner.I can list the facts in policies easily because once I have read them they come easily to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×