It can be challenging enough moving into a new role but how do you cope with little support and little direction when trying to assimilate into that new position? Faced with such a situation when making the transition – after 16 years – from clinician to nursing educator, Katrina Angus drew on her practical experience and utilised the three Rs (3Rs) of Resilience, Reflection and Recovery to cope with challenges.
Katrina says that the problem for her was that she had ‘four different Nurse Unit Managers to work with in one year as well as three Nursing Directors who all had different ideas’, all leaving her to her own devices. In what was her new acting role with the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Service (AODS), Katrina found she had little support, no previous experience, few resources and a large district to cover, i.e. Central Queensland.
In her words, Katrina felt she ‘was drowning’.
However, determined to not let herself get overwhelmed, Katrina assessed what was working and what wasn’t, conducted a Training Needs Analysis, and looked for a suitable supervisor who could assist in the process. As Katrina says in her own words, ‘I am a believer in surviving and no matter what I am doing I believe in delivering the best service I can so I always reflect on what I am doing and endeavour to always improve.’
In essence, she needed to make the position work.
What Katrina did was turn to the 3Rs and put them to use. As a mental health nurse and having previously used them in her clinical practice, she now started using them in her new acting educator role. She found the skills around Resilience especially popular with staff and sees them as something that can be taught and the various techniques practiced and enhanced. Learners could be taught to be flexible, feel in control of their particular situation, and be able to solve problems, amongst other things. Katrina used Reflective practice with all the nurses to improve the ways things were done, venturing into more adventurous forms of education, using tools such as Share-Point, multimedia and Mask-Ed to name a few. Lastly, new staff members were taught to use Recovery by encouraging them to consider their position as a journey, to explore and have fun with it and to grow and learn.
Katrina believes that since staff have heard of the 3Rs and incorporated them in their own field of work, it has helped in dealing with the many recent changes within her service area.
And it certainly seems to have worked for Katrina! As she explains, ‘I was acting in the [educator’s] position and have now gained the position permanently…I feel very settled and when I am not I utilise the 3Rs’.
Her advice? ‘Keep calm and carry on’.
Watch the video and join in the discussion by answering questions below, or put your own point of view forward.
Have you experienced a similar situation where you too felt you were ‘drowning’ in relation to keeping on top of your work? Describe how you dealt with it. Did you draw on the 3Rs?
Describe how you might impart advice to your learners on using the 3Rs. Using either a real or imagined scenario, explain the various steps you would ‘walk’ your learners through.
Anderson, J. (2008). An Academic Fairy Tale A Metaphor of the Work-Role Transition From Clinician to Academician. Nurse Educator, 33 (2), p. 79. DOI: 10.1097/01.NNE.0000299511.70646.ab
McAllister, Mosel Williams, Gamble, T., Malko-Nyhan, K., Jones, C. (2011). Steps towards empowerment: an examination of the needs of Australian nurse educators working in training colleges, health services and universities. Contemporary Nurse Journal Special Issue: Advances in Contemporary Nurse Education, 38(1-2), 6-17