Has Nursing Changed? – Article for Eldernet

District Nurse Training

I am a new blogger with Eldernet, but hope to have the chance to ‘talk’ over the web every month, therefore I decided to start my blogging with a bit of a story about me. My name is Jane Clements, and I am born and bred Kiwi, with a Military Dad, Bank Manager Mum and businessman Brother.

Every 2 years or so we were posted to different Air Force bases, but I feel like I grew up in Whenuapai – this is where I started primary school and lived in the only house I think we ever owned and that wasn’t on a base!

I graduated as  Registered Nurse in 1988 having completed the Diploma in AUT (Akoranga Drive) as it was then.  We were the new breed of Nurses completing the diploma and now we are left behind by the new breed of Degree and Masters Nurses.

It is funny how life goes, when I was doing my training and first graduated, I was confronted with some pretty strong attitudes about the training I had undertaken from the ‘hospital’ trained Nurses on the Wards.  They were  never outright mean, but there were plenty of cynical comments about our lack of clinical experience.  I can remember thinking how I would never get jaded and always be open minded to the ‘new’ ways of training.  I remember absolutely believing that Nurse training and education in general would  surely just always progress and the decision makers would always make the right decisions!!   Ha ha, I was nearly 20 years old and those ‘rose tinted’ glasses were firmly fixed on my face.

My Nana is 102 years old (card from the Queen and all).  She lives in the UK.  I try and go every couple of years to see her and was living there for 10 years when she hit 85 years of age.  I can remember sitting and talking with her about her experience of Nurses in hospitals and if she thought ‘things’ like training of Nurses is better now than before.  To be honest, I think I mostly wanted to understand if getting older just meant we were less tolerant of  change and new things……

My 90 year old Nana, whilst watching the British National Darts final on T.V. responded with a really interesting comment which has stuck with me:

“Age brings wisdom and wisdom should be used for story telling” .  Weirdly this comment and the conversation around it did answer my question about how we respond to change as we grow older.  I believe she was saying that we should all embrace our experiences, and growing old means more of them.  We should also share them as our stories, but not necessarily believe our stories and experiences to be the ‘right’ ones.

25 years later I have married, had a child, divorced, remarried, divorced, moved in with the perfect man for me,  gained step kids and spent most of those years working as a Registered Nurse here and overseas (including a few years on the Isle of Mann scooping up people after they crashed on their motorbikes).

After many clinical years under my belt I joined the private sector.  I had got to the stage where I wanted to diversify my knowledge and see what the ‘commercial’ world was all about.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree though, and so I went into health recruitment – finding and recruiting health professionals for New Zealand customers.  Well I am not sure what the right expression is – but ‘wow’joining the private sector was a huge shock for me and I struggled with the change for a good year or two!

All this brings me to raising 2 questions that I am keen to consider more and will blog about over the next couple of months.

1. Is Nursing training and nursing care better than it was 25 years ago, and

2. How do private businesses and Government funded organisations (particularly in health given the funding in Aged Care) better learn from each other to get the best of both worlds in one?

‘See’ you next month, where I will pick up on these topics, and will usually ‘pepper’ my blogs with a bit of the fun chaos that is my life (only for a little entertainment value I hope).

Jane Clements