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FOCUS ON INTERPROFESSIONAL LEARNING: Learning from one another for the benefit of patients

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As a registered nurse (RN) in the cardiovascular unit at Yarmouth Regional Hospital, Nadia Titus often prepares patients to be sent to the cardiac catheterization lab at the QEII Health Sciences Centre for testing. Thanks to a nurse-led workplace improvement initiative grant that allowed Titus and nine of her nursing colleagues to shadow staff in the cardiac cath lab and cardiac day unit in Halifax, she is now able to better prepare her patients for the procedure.

“Patients usually have a lot of questions about the procedure,” says Titus. “It was nice to be able to see every step of the process. It really decreases anxiety for the patients to know what to expect.”

Interacting with technicians, physicians and radiologists at the cardiac cath lab and RNs in the cardiac day unit - where patients go before and after the procedure - also enabled Titus to better understand how the preparatory work that she and her colleagues do on the unit contributes to a smooth process in the cardiac cath lab.

“Cath lab staff and the RNs on the cardiac day unit were really open to having us there. They went through all the regular paperwork we send and explained why it is important. The experience has had a big impact on my nursing to patients. I know better how to prepare patients for the procedure; how to ensure the prep is well done. It helps everything flow better.”

The learning doesn’t stop with Titus and the other seven RN and two licensed practical nurse (LPN) colleagues who shadowed cath lab and cardiac day unit staff. They’ve brought this knowledge and experience back to the RNs and LPNs on the unit so that everyone can benefit.

“It was a rewarding experience,” says Titus. “It was really good learning for nurses and for patients.”