Opportunity for change and diversity of experiences beckon many an individual into the nursing profession. Graduating from the University of Alberta Hospital School of Nursing in 1988; Mary Fieldhouse R.N. at Columbia Health One P/SL is that "poster child" for change and diversity.
Starting her career on a medical-surgical unit and concurrently working per diem at an ER in Edmonton, Canada, Marly burst into the professional arena armed with education and motivation to experience nursing on many levels. Leaving Canada, Marly joined a traveling nurse agency accepting a position in Lubbock, Texas, at University Medical Center as a night charge nurse. The patient population included cardiac, kidney transplant and prisoners from the Federal Prison Unit, as well as the opportunity to pursue certification for PICC, midline, ANCC in medical-surgical nursing and competence in peritoneal dialysis.
In 1996, Marly moved to Denver and has been at P/SL until the present. Her interest in cardiac patients continues as she worked in many capacities, including staff nurse, cardiac rehab, heart failure program, and now as unit educator for the medical-surgical telemetry units. Ever the agent for change, Marly also worked part time as a telephone triage nurse for a busy doctor’s practice. Assessment skills were gained from populations as diverse as pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatric and maternity patients, giving her invaluable understanding of patients’ needs at all levels.
As an institution, P/SL is fortunate to have many highly qualified nurses with extensive traveling and diverse backgrounds with an appreciation for various management models within the nursing profession.
Coming from Canada where socialized medicine is the norm, traveling to other states and working in different clinical settings, Marly brings a balanced mixture of maturity and insight to P/SL. An educator must be a seasoned, well spoken individual who enjoys the mix of nurses within an institution, as well as the give and take of information. Marly is well-adapted to this role.
With many nurses taking traveling positions, the need to educate temporary hires about hospital policies represent a challenge for institutions everywhere. Add to this mix new graduates with varied nursing degrees, LPNs, CNAs, new equipment and all the changes and regulations coming into play, the role of the educator is pivotal.
On the cardiac medical-surgical unit, Marly works in tandem with the education department teaching critical thinking skills to the staff. Helping new grads become expert nurses is extremely rewarding when the "light bulb" goes on, Marly noted. Being able to listen to new ideas, as well as incorporate hospital policies for the many travelers requires finesse and appreciation for diversity. The many clinical issues that arise in a busy unit, documentation compliance and educational structure all fit the picture for a versatile communicator.
P/SL serves a diverse clientele from patients in the Denver area to outlying towns in Nebraska, Kansas and southern Colorado. Nurses are orientated to support not only the patient, but also the family during a crisis joining forces to promote a family atmosphere of caring. When the tables were turned with the tragic death of her fiance, David, Marly found herself the recipient of the same empathy and understanding she so willingly imparted to others in need. The outpouring of care and support to Marly in her time of need from the many disciplines in the hospital was a tremendous cushion allowing for the much-needed grieving and healing process to be accomplished. This one single stressful event in her life provided a unique perspective of the role nurses play in the lives of their patients from the beginning of life to the end.
While in the process of writing this article, Marly was promoted to become the new nurse manager for the surgical telemetry unit. Knowing how invaluable leaders are to an institution, P/SL quickly recognized the leadership potential Marly so obviously possessed. Her plans now include settling in to her new role as a leader for the surgical unit, continuing her studies to obtain her BSN and working toward better management of aging patient populations within the confines of limited nursing resources.
As the new nurse manager, educating nurses will always remain a priority for the growth of her staff, as well as quality patient care. With diversity and change experienced in every aspect of her life, the staff on Marly’s unit and P/SL as an institution is privileged to have a nurse of such caliber.
by Anne McWhite, R.N.
Special to DNS