My Auckland Mixed Bag Ed Experience

Accident and Emergency Sign

Another 2 months has passed by since my blog about the changing role of nurses (as I see it) over the past 10 years or so.  Sadly since I last blogged two of my four children have had a wee stint in ED – (don’t ask!!).  I had 2 vastly different experiences as a parent/step parent both those times which did little to dispel my questions about what it is like to be a nurse ‘today’.

Both visits were a busy ED and on the first occasion, the orderly was the most positive communication we had throughout our 8 or so hours in ED.  He was warm, sensitive, professional and kind.  I assume it was a pretty rough shift as we really had a pretty poor experience where the Nurses appeared focus on the task not the girl in front of them, the care was not explained, not coordinated, and my pretty distressed step daughter kept asking me what they were saying to her e.g. loads of jargon and not really directed at her level.  My seconf visit with son was better with a nurse about my age caring for us.  It was not my proudest parenting moment (you can guess the rest) but the Nurse was completely empathetic, engaging, interested in us, gave clear information and was efficient.

Taking my previous view that perhaps nursing’s priorities have changed since I nursed in the 80’s and 90’s, I now wonder if it is also harder to be a nurse now than it was then.  I wonder if there is so much more publicity about what goes wrong, and  people are quick to give their opinions via blogs (ha ha – ironic)/social media etc, that it is just basically harder to do you job for fear of what comes next….  I guess I am being a little slow making this connection given we all know whether we are a parent, professional, student, employer, employee etc, that the advent of instant global communication has made the way we do think and our relationships quite quite differernt!

My first blog was last year when I raised two questions:

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?

I have probably thrashed the nursing care question now – and you can read those thoughts by searching for my previous blog on Jan 22nd.

The second question around how private businesses and government funded organisation better learn from each other came about as both me and a number of my mates have had many years working both for DHB’s/public funded services and in private commercial businesses.  When we get together we still laugh at how naïve we were when we first left the DHB’s and went into the private sector.

Increasingly both the public and private sectors are sharing infomration and engaging more with each other, but it seems to me that this is a bit limited and not openly discussed back at the workplace (e.g. probably high level and kept behind closed doors a bit).

I attend business functions and health/clinical forums and it is really interesting what I see (well I guess interesting is a bit of a stretch for some of you ha ha).  At the business forums the same companies and services are usually there e.g. large corporates – finance/ retail /advertising and marketing type people and plenty of entrepenuers!  Not a Nurse Manager, Clinical Leader, DHB person to be seen.

When I then attend clinical or health run forums, some of the public and private hospitals and services go along together – but not all.

I wonder why public hospital Managers are not encouraged to go to business networking or information sessions?  After about 12 years in public funded hospitals/health services and now about the same in private enterprise – I reckon I would be a much better Clinical /Ops Manager  in the public health sector than I was before!! (actually that wouldn’t be hard, I was a bit average- lots of energy, passion and good will, but not much business acumen).  Equally I believe some of the key service delivery drivers I learnt in the DHB’s helps me to be an advocate, to do things because it is just the right thing to do from time to time, to focus on outcomes and ensure everyone is on the same page with common hopes and goals!

So… if you are a health manager I hope you get the chance to attend some business forums from time to time – it is awesome learning and a different perspective (sooooo different in fact), and hopefully some great business mentors / movers and shakers migth also promote their services into more public services.

Love or hate John Key, he in my view is a business man who cares about people and is trying to get that balance just right.  He has made his dosh – he donates his income as PM to others, and he in my view is trying to teach self responsibility, fiscial sustainability  along with a bit of compassion (I was raised in a military, pro-National party family and have been constantly accused of being the ‘lefty’ in the family, first time I voted National was because of JK).

What do you think?  Are there key lessons that can be learnt between public service providers and commercial organisations and should we try and push this more than we do?

Emergency Department

Jane Clements (RN, GM at Medcall Health Personnel Ltd)