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Behind the scene of My VCH Projects: upskilling nurses in the management of vascular access


Ever wonder how our staff are making Vancouver Coastal Health a better place?

\What gave you the idea for this project?

Our project was to design and run a series of workshops to bring Vancouver Community nurses up to date on all the vascular access devices they see in the community, including management and problem solving for each one. 

I've been in the role of clinical educator for the Vancouver Community IV program for 10 years, and the project idea came from several things I was noticing. First, around five years ago we started to see shifts in staffing: lots of experienced staff were leaving their roles as frontline clinicians, and we didn't have the same body of knowledge. Second, a community nurse has to be a generalist, and vascular access management is typically about 10% of their workday, so it's hard to keep up with any changes that occur.

The third thing was the increase in the types of IVs nurses would see. It's one thing to work in a hospital unit where you see just one or two kinds, but it's a whole other thing in community when we see eight or nine different kinds of vascular access. In my role I go on visits with nurses and I was noticing some knowledge gaps, so I felt like some type of upskilling was definitely needed.

How did using the new My VCH Projects pathway affect your project outcome?

I actually first had this idea in 2014, but there were not enough resources to implement it before the My VCH survey and the new My VCH Projects approach. I really appreciated the openness to ideas and the enthusiasm from the Transformation Office -- that was very positive.

I think the best thing about the approach is that so many of the projects in the system have been designed by frontline staff, for frontline staff. We are the people who are on the ground, and we need help to bring our ideas to life. This shows me the frontline staff are being valued, and we are being heard.

What advice would you give to people using the My VCH Projects approach for the first time?

I think the best advice is around ideas and goals, which are a bit different. Take your idea, your dream, and try to create a manageable goal. This is what I appreciate about the project structure – they're not looking at a five-year project. They're looking at what can we do in six months, and I think that's good because you can see the end achievement. 

How did it feel when your project was successfully implemented?

First off, I want to acknowledge and thank Emily Torrence (CRN), and Project Manager Sharon Seki, who were absolutely indispensable in the creation and successful implementation of these refresher sessions.

There are several benefits from having finished this project. The feedback from staff was, “We needed this, this is long overdue, where have you been all my life?" We are now planning to make IV refreshers an annual event. The project was a huge success, and the best part was the nurses felt heard!

Project Name: Upskilling Community Home Health Nurses in the Management of Vascular Access and Infusion Therapies
Initiative Owner: Cathy Duerksen, Clinical Educator, Vancouver Community Infusion Program

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