What qualities would I expect in a potential critical care practitioner? It may be controversial to say so, but top of the list would not be experience! Over my nursing career, which now spans 26 years, I have applied for a few changes of job. One of the criteria has always been the same. When moving from one grade up to another there has always been a stipulation that a certain amount of time has been completed atthe previous grade. Whilst I understand that there are some very valid reasons for this, it has always implied to me that we all learn at a very linear rate. In order to be posssibly be considered competent at one level one has to have served some time at all the previous levels. Whilst I would not advocate that this should change for all nurses I firmly belive that it should change for some.
There are nurses out there who, for whatever reason, take on more responsibility and advanced roles more readily and at a faster rate than others. I certainly dont mean to imply that those nurses that do not move forward as quickly are less valuable, but it is time that the NHS and nursing as a whole began to actively search out and develop these individuals. I worked briefly in the private sector before beginning my career in the health service and the culture there was one where those individuals who showed promise of leadership or management were identified early and extra time and money was spent on their development. This meant younger leaders, sometimes with brighter new ideas and enthusiaism.
Given my chance I would decide what qualities were important to me for the role of critical care practitioner and then actively seek out those nurse with those qualities. I would endeavour to inspire them to work harder towards advanced practice and spend more time and money on developing those skills I feel they need. With the right support I could ‘fast track’ these individuals to become the practitioners of the near future and not the far future.
Experience is valuable, but I would want experience of the right things. Just serving more time in a role does not always make one a better practitioner. I know of several people in my current trust who would be worthy of this extra investment. I would love to seek them out…….