Member Spotlight: Dory

By Patrycja Vaid
Local 115 Communications, United Nurses of Alberta

Dory is truly #uniquelyRN by making #nursesunite. She created and fostered a #community of practice during tumultuous institutional #change. She is a huge proponent of providing expert care and ensuring competence within nursing through the unification of Clinical Nurse Educators in Alberta Health Services. Get to know more about this Foothills Hospital graduate and all the important work she has done in this @unalocal115 member spotlight.

Dory cover

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born in a small town in Saskatchewan but was raised in Medicine Hat. Both sets of my grandparents were homesteaders and immigrated from Austria & Russia. I moved to Calgary to go to school at FHH in 1976.

Q: Where do you work now, and what has been your nursing work journey?

A:  I am a graduate of FHH School of Nursing Diploma program and subsequently obtained a BScN from the U of A. I have been a RN for 36 years.

Dory Grad

I started working in critical care at the FHH (it wasn’t FMC then) when CCU / ICU were one unit on the 10th floor. I moved to Victoria, BC and worked in the Open Heart Unit / CCU at the Royal Jubilee Hospital& VGH and then eventually to the labour / delivery unit at VGH. I taught prenatal classes in Victoria for 12 years.

I moved back to Calgary 20 years later to be with family and I do not regret it one bit (miss my garden though – anything grows there).

I initially worked in Labour / Delivery at FMC, taught clinical with the U of C nursing students on various units and developed the curriculum and taught a LPN program at a local College.

My first CNE position was at the RGH on colo-rectal and the urology units where I redeveloped the pre-operative teaching course for patients having a TURP & Radical Prostatectomy. This was my first exposure to the Regional CNE meetings, which was a great source of support to me as a new educator. I became the Co-Chair of the meeting that year and subsequently became Chair a couple years later. From there, I transferred to be the CNE in PACU at the FMC. My current position is the Educational Coordinator for the Clerkship & Residency Program in the Department of Surgery.

Q: What do you like most about where you work right now?

A: I have a different focus from Nursing to provide educational needs of medical students in their clerkship year and the Residents in the Surgery department. They are keen to hear my nursing point of view. For instance, during a CVC insertion simulation, the residents were inserting a “Cordis –Sheath Catheter” and I was able to discuss with them the policies of CVC and especially that the Cordis line is not allowed on regular surgical or medical floors as per policy. It also gives me the opportunity to promote the strengthening of the nurse-physician relationship and how we can work together collaboratively for better patient outcomes.

Secondly, I appreciate the support from my area in allowing me to chair the monthly Regional CNE meetings. This has given me the opportunity to put my leadership skills into practice not only in the Calgary Zone but also with CNE’s in all 5 Zones. I see the communication and sharing of knowledge as important in easing the workload of CNEs and providing the opportunity for consistency of practice throughout the province, thus again potentially leading to better patient outcomes.

Q: Many people might not know that you started provincial meetings with the educators across Alberta to try to keep communication lines open when Alberta Health Services was re-structuring and a lot of previously organized groups had fallen by the wayside. What inspired you to do this? And what keeps you going?

A: In my role as Chair of the Regional CNE group, I realized that the information from these meetings should be heard by all CNEs as it pertains to clinical practice. I collaborated with Dr. Anita Mitzner of Health Professions Strategy and Practice (HPSP) with thoughts to allow other CNEs across the province to join our meetings. She agreed and used her connections with the rural group and staff from other zones to give them information about our group. We continued to spread information about our group and soon we had representation from all zones within the province to join our meetings via telehealth. Later we learned that other zones have expressed an interest in replicating our meetings in their Zones. It’s rewarding to hear that other zones want to copy work that you are doing.

I continue to do this as I feel it is important. This venue allows for communication of practices, alerts for upcoming changes and an opportunity to question practice. It allows us as a group of CNEs to be consistent with interpretation and implementation of policies and procedures, thus reducing confusion amongst staff who may work in more than one area. I’ve heard back from many CNEs within Calgary and in other zones how much they not only value these meetings but also how much they appreciate my work with organizing, chairing and recording the Regional CNE meetings.

We have to remember that prior to this, CNEs were the last to know of important dates of new policies, products etc. and were frequently functioning from a reactive mode. Now, we are a collective or an aggregate group that is unified in providing expert care and ensuring competence within nursing.

Q: What result are you most proud of that has come out of these provincial meetings?

A: It’s developed into a form of “Community of Practice” for CNEs. This forum is connecting CNEs across the province – acute care, rural, community etc. CNEs have embraced the value of networking with each other to share their successes and challenges.

The CNE Group is self-governing and has grown without the assistance or direction from upper management or administration.

I receive many emails / calls from CNEs in Edmonton, Lethbridge etc. as well as Managers and Directors with their inquiry or to share with the CNEs for feedback or clinical practice. Someone said to me that the best accolade is someone trying to copy / mimic what you do or to reference your material during their work. “The greatest form of flattery is imitation.” Hearing that other Zones would also like to hold Regional meetings such as this one validates the importance of what we are doing and what we have achieved.

Q: Your career so far has taken you many places and you’ve made quite an impact on the educator group in Calgary. Is there anything you would still like to accomplish with the rest of your nursing career?

A: I would like to ensure that the Regional CNE group continues after I leave the chair position in retirement.

I’ve discussed with my manager some possible research ideas for the clerkship program and she is interested so would like to pursue this in more depth.

Q: Why is the union important to you?

A: The UNA can focus on you as a RN. They support the work / knowledge that is uniquely RN. They promote a respectful environment where nurses can collaborate, communicate and make decisions that will enhance not only patient care but also promote work-life balance.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Calgary?

A: Attend the arts – live theatre, music, walk around the Bow, have family dinners with my kids, sisters and their families.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant/place to shop/book/movie/TV show?

A: My husband and I love going to La Chaumiere on 17th. I love going to the craft fair when they are at Telus convention centre and the BMO centre. I can appreciate the creativity of some of the artists. The Outlander series on TV is intriguing my senses right now as I enjoyed reading the book series ~ 20 years ago. My husband and I like to challenge each other when watching Jeopardy.

Q: Looking back, if you could give your new nurse self some advice what would it be?

A: Continue to be a life-long learner. Seek out learning experiences within the area that you work in. Get out of your comfort zone occasionally to challenge yourself.

Complete a graduate level degree & / or certification either in nursing, education, health science, medicine…do this sooner than later.

Dream big and don’t stop until you see this happening.

Always strive to be the best RN that you can achieve. Never settle for substandard care for our patients. Treat your colleagues (RNs, LPNs, HCS, UC, Physicians, OT, PT etc) with the utmost respect, courtesy and dignity.

Please give nursing a chance and you will be rewarded professionally in many ways.

Q: What are you looking forward to in the next year?

A: For my career, I want to continue leading by example – to promote how valuable RN presence is for the educational needs of medical students and residents in preparing them for clinical practice and to foster communication and sharing amongst CNEs in all 5 Zones.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: Probably retired and sailing the Pacific and various other forms of travel to places of wonder with my husband and family. I say retired but I still feel that I have some energy left to continue to maintain and grow a legacy of sharing and a “Community of Practice” that will benefit current and future CNEs for years to come.