Experience and Expertise

Experience and Expertise

I very recently had the pleasure of lecturing for a Conference at Sea on Legal and Ethical Issues, sailing the South Pacific and stopping for island visits that were stunningly beautiful.  The conference participants were nurses and midwives who ranged from recent grads to those with decades of experience.

The knowledge these participants had, their experiences, some good, some terrible and the ways they dealt with confronting situations was enormous.  Often the stories of how these folk actually dealt with and managed difficult situations was illuminating.  The intelligence and the insights they brought to those situations was a valuable learning lesson for me.

Everyone had so many skills and such a variety of backgrounds that chatting over drinks, questions and discussions during the conference and meeting while wandering the ship meant there was learning happening on many levels.  A great experience.

It set me thinking about how much nurses know and experience.  Good or bad situations, nurses grow constantly and it seems to me that this accumulation of knowledge and experience is sometimes underestimated and taken for granted.

We talk and share among ourselves but many of us just take for granted the enormous capabilities we have almost unconsciously gained.  The other thing that caught my attention was the sheer amount of ongoing, further and speciality education the group had undertaken.  They were, although they tended to shrug it off, experts.

The fact we don’t perhaps know everything and our profession constantly throws up testing or scary situations seems to reduce our confidence in ourselves.  Certainly, anyone who claims to know it all or acts like the “super nurse” is to be feared, but really we do need to applaud and respect our abilities and constant professional growth and knowledge gains.

The learning never stops but good nurses are usually great nurses, not infallible, not invulnerable to making errors or experiencing strife, but they are, even on the bad days trying.  It needs to be celebrated and applauded and we need to be kind to ourselves and our colleagues for surviving all the tests and pressures our work involves.

There are some fabulous webinar recordings by Pam Savage regarding Nurses and the Law on theNurses for Nurses Network. The  Nurses for Nurses Network provides good information and CPD  on an array of nursing topics in a range of easy learning ways including webinars and quizzes on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nurses for Nurses Network was created by Australian Nurses for Nurses! www.nursesfornurses.com.au

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