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My inter-professional shadow day helped me get to know my team

Shadow Day

Leah Wake, RN (second from left), and her shadow day inter-professional team (left to right): Brynna Lemmex, Social Worker; Leanne Thomson, Physiotherapist; and Julie Soucy, Occupational Therapist.

By Leah Wake, RN, 4West

As part of my orientation to 4West, the Transitional Care Unit, I fortunately spent a day shadowing my inter-professional team’s members, learning about the roles of the social worker, occupational therapist, physiotherapist and rehabilitation assistant.

This experience truly gave me a sense of the expectations for me, as a new 4West nurse, and of the situations in which I would be asking these team members for their expertise. I asked questions about their roles and how I, as a nurse, will be working with them to provide collaborative, patient-centred care for our patients.

Throughout the day, I attended discharge meetings and physician rounds, where I saw the inter-professional team in action. Attending these meetings not only helped me get to know more about the patient populations that I would care for within the unit, but they also showed me examples of how each member of the team uses his or her skills to collaborate for the best care for the patient.

When I saw the different roles of the inter-professional team members, I realized that something that seemed so small and quick to me, like measuring for the height of a walker, makes a huge difference to the patient’s mobility and quality of life. Even for myself, to be shown the different equipment on the floor – from shower chairs to ceiling lifts – helped me become familiar with the unit and how we all work together.

This orientation day made me appreciate the behind-the-scenes work that I didn’t even realize happened! I’m more aware of how my role as a nurse is important to carrying out the work another team member has initiated, like ensuring my patient is wearing the brace ordered by the occupational therapist, or encouraging my patient to do the exercises directed by the physiotherapist.

Being new to 4West, it was helpful to get to know the other team members and for them to get to know me. I feel like I can approach them more readily because I better understand their expertise. So often, I find that nurses can get caught up in daily routines – AM care, medications, charting, order transcription, dressing changes, and so on – and we can overlook those around us doing important work with our patients. After this experience, I find myself taking more notice of things like the exercises the physiotherapist posted on the care board, the wheelchair (supplied by the occupational therapist) that my patient uses to go to the activity room or the amount of work and communication that goes into every discharge organized by a social worker.

I highly recommend this opportunity to all nurses, as it truly helped me see the embodiment of The Ottawa Hospital’s value of Working Together.


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