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Fellowship creates new opportunities for nurses

Toronto, May 17, 2013

By Patricia Favre

Nurse Princess Lozada shows a colleague the project she created for wound products.
Nurse Princess Lozada shows a colleague the project she created for wound products. (Photo: Yuri Markarov)

A new nurse fellowship program is creating learning opportunities and improving quality patient care at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Staff nurses Princess Lozada and Nayoung Roh recently completed six-week fellowships in Gastroenterology and General Surgery with nurse practitioner Jo Hoeflok.

The fellowship, a new initiative by Heather Campbell, director of nursing practice and education, was designed by Hoeflok and Joanne Bennett, CLM on 16CCN. Participating nurses studied a specific area of care, developed a patient care project and then educated their colleagues.

Through the fellowship, Lozada and Roh shadowed Hoeflok as she provided expert wound care in clinics and units across the hospital.

“Following up with former inpatients in a clinic setting was a new experience,” said Lozada. “It helped me understand patient needs and pain after surgery.”

Lozada created a pocket guide for wound products which is now being used by nurses in the Gastroenterology and General Surgery Unit.

“I felt that we were using a limited number of wound care products,” said Lozada. “I wanted to learn about alternative products, and how to do a better job matching specialized products to wounds.”

Roh surveyed perceptions of fistula management, and created a top 10 tips guide for nurses caring for fistulas.

“Her work is helping our nurses understand best practices for this complex procedure,” said Hoeflok.

Bennett remarked that the fellowship program not only improved patient care practices, but also developed Lozada and Roh as leaders. “With new-found knowledge they developed a deeper confidence in themselves,” she said. “Other nurses in our unit now look to them as resources.”

Both Lozada and Roh are continuing their education by attending the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy conference next month in Toronto.

The next stop for the fellowship program is the General Internal Medicine Unit, where nurses will work with a nurse practitioner to increase their knowledge and skills for the care of palliative patients.

Patients with a wide range of care needs, including palliative care, are often admitted to the unit before the next course of treatment is determined.

“A number of the nurses I work with came to me saying they felt there was a need to enhance their knowledge and skills in relation to pain and symptom management as well as specific psycho-social support needs for palliative patients and families,” said Carita Valentini, CLM in General Internal Medicine. “This will be an opportunity for our nurses to develop expertise in palliative care and to provide patients and families with a more standardized approach to care delivery.”

The planning process for the fellowship in General Internal Medicine will begin later this summer.