In partnership with Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) Spectrum Health Care currently runs and operates ambulatory clinics in the Greater Toronto Area.
The clinics are exclusively for CCAC patients who prefer and are capable of coming into a clinic rather than waiting for a nurse to visit them at home. The nurses in the clinic provide a full range of nursing services including: IV therapy, wound care, injections, chemo disconnect, leg wraps, foot care and diabetic teaching.
We chatted with two of our very own clinic nurses, Jeff J. (a 17 year veteran with SHC) and Anju H. (a newbie to the SHC family with a year under her belt) to get a sneak peek into the life of clinic nursing.
What’s the best part about being a nurse in the clinic?
Jeff: The ability to start patients on immediate treatment. At the clinic all the supplies and resources I need are right at my fingertips. When patients come in needing a specific type of treatment I can provide it on the spot without delay. This has a tremendous benefit to their overall recovery time.
Anju: The constant learning. With each patient I get to learn something new and come up with viable solutions. I always go home feeling like I truly accomplished something.
What’s the hardest part about being a nurse in the clinic?
Jeff: Adjusting to the pace. At the clinic patients schedule their own visits. This means most days I’m always on the go to accommodate the back to back appointments. It’s a different pace than visiting nursing where nurses have control over the number of clients they see and when they are seen.
Anju: Switching between skill sets. Since the patients who come to the clinic have a variety of ailments, I constantly need to be flexible and adaptable when applying my nursing skills and knowledge. No two patients are exactly the same and the care I provide needs to be able to address their specific needs.
What do you love most about your job?
Jeff: Community nursing has always been my passion. I have always gravitated towards nursing roles that allow me to be hands on with the treatment of patients. The clinic is perfect for this, plus I get to work with a wide variety of patients from children to seniors.
Anju: The continuous challenge. I get to learn new things each day and expand my nursing practice. I also love the support Spectrum provides its nurses through professional development opportunities and training.
What’s one thing that you feel everyone should know or understand about clinic nursing?
Jeff: The environment is fast paced. We currently have over 125 patients at our clinic and see an average of 25-30 patients a day. The patients are also quite diverse in their age range, health and treatment requirements.
Anju: It’s a fast paced environment. You have a limited time to address a patient’s clinical and emotional needs. You learn to be very efficient with your time.