Year of the Nurse and can we empower nurses today…

So it’s month 2 of year of the nurse had midwife and for February the Nurse Bloggers topic is…..

How can you empower nurses today.

What a great question.

At first I could only think of what I do now. Each day in my job I try to use the knowledge I’ve gained in my specialist role to teach and therefore empower others to carry out their role.

But that didn’t seem enough, or what Nurse bloggers were looking to inspire. I wanted to use this question to drive a difference in what I do. My job does take me into all the areas of the Trust and I do get the chance to make a great deal of difference to patient care and staff education but that would mean writing about what I do. Not making a positive step to do something different.

So I had a look around at what other people are doing. I’ve never really had a grand plan in my career or goals, but looked to others for inspiration and followed people whose ideals and achievements excited me. It’s meant working with some great people who if I’d not taken a chance I’d not have had the opportunity to meet,

So how could I make a difference, and empower other nurses outside of my current role..

Sitting in a meeting I got inspiration. It was the Dorset ICS IPC meeting, that’s the integrated care system for infection control nurses across Dorset. We were wanting to set up a website to share ideas and policy across the whole of Dorset. That caught my interest as I’d already started to work on developing this but that it’s going to take some time to create. I needed something similar in aim but separate to infection prevention and control, an informal network of nurses to share ideas, stories and information.

Thanks to the power of Twitter I was already following @nursealio who had set a network in Facebook for Devon and Cornwall. I’d seen her work through the #butfirstadrink programme, something else that had inspired me. I thought, I can do the same for Dorset surely.

So, I joined the group. Wow, great ideas and over 750 members! Lots of group discussion and inclusive of all nursing staff..RN’s, RMN’s, HCA’s and NA’s.

But then I got imposter syndrome… more on that later…and bucket loads of self doubt. So I stopped and started to think more deeply about what I wanted from this, what I wanted to deliver and what I thought others might want from it to. There was a lot to think about so I went away to do something different, well a long run actually. I get most of my ideas when I’m out running or just quietly thinking!

There’s another blogger I follow, she talks about every now and again allowing “20 seconds of madness” to make a decision for you. It’s from the film, we bought a zoo

Being an INFJ I can mull on a topic for aeons and make several choices without actually decisions. But some of the best experiences I’ve had are those that resulted from making a decision without thinking too much…posts such as being Matron in Cardiology, a Health Protection Nurse Specialist and others have all been made without thinking too deeply. Just going with gut instinct.

So that was it. I messaged Ali, joined the Devon and Cornwall group, looked at the rules and started to make a Dorset version.

So, how am I going to empower Nurses? I’m going to use the group I’ve set up to share knowledge from all nurses within the group, ask questions to generate conversation and possibly set up a conference later in the year if the group takes off. At the moment I’m driving the daily posts but I’m really hoping that as more people join, more will want to share their stories. So far 2 people have said they would like to contribute..

There have already been some great comments and issues raised. My favourite has to be the stories of how we all came into nursing. Such varied routes and decisions. I feel a blog developing just around those!

Back to imposter syndrome. A great nurse I used to work with shared a link to the group I’ve set up from an RCN article looking at imposter syndrome. I’ve had this at so many points in my career, usually after the 20 seconds of madness actions have dawned on me! Well the link got lots of people talking on the network, a sign of things to come I hope!