When Marta was trying to choose a hospital for her nursing residency, she was clear that she wanted a largespecialist paediatric hospital which looked after a large volume of patients of varying complexity. SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital was not her first choice because she hadn’t heard of it, but now she says she would choose this centre again.
What has the learning process been like during your residency at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital?
It has been and continues to be a natural and progressive process. I come from Seville and, to start with, I was worried about the change of city, Catalan and the use of different computer systems. But from the first day all my colleagues have given me all the information I needed – neither the language nor the system have been a problem.
Do you do the same as the other nurses?
At first we tend to follow our mentor nurse for at least a couple of weeks – especially in my case, since my first rotation was on the Oncology ward, where they’re very busy and there are a lot of complex cases. Then we start to gain more autonomy and the supervision becomes more indirect. Then you get to the point where you can look after the patients you have been seeing since you started your rotation in each speciality, and on the different shifts. Working on the early and late shifts and then the night shift (which is the shortest rotation) makes you understand the importance of providing continuity of care.
What responsibilities do you take on and how?
You take on responsibilities gradually and, quite quickly, you’re doing the same as all the other nurses (unless we’re talking about cases or techniques you aren’t familiar with). In general, you start to feel more confident and responsible as time goes on and you learn more. From the first day they explain everything to you, they’re there for you, and that makes you feel safe when making decisions.
“I’ve realised that, as a nurse, you never stop learning – the process is continuous”.
How do you resolve queries, through asking questions or through teamwork?
If we have to resolve a question immediately, we take it to our mentor nurse or the ward supervisors. However, for more academic or in-depth questions, we use the tutorials. The weekly sessions (individual and group) also allow us to raise uncertainties and share experiences with other resident nurses. We can also consult numerous protocols that the Hospital shares on the Internet or specific reference literature on what we’re interested in.
How many residents are there per shift?
There’s one resident per shift and it’s not necessary to divide the work, so you get a lot of experience in a relatively short time. Sometimes we coincide with other students, but it doesn’t cause any problems or alter the flow of work.
Is the practice very different from the theory?
Yes, there is a difference, but you have to know the theory for the practice, to give meaning to it. The theory helps you understand techniques and methods. But then the practice teaches you how to adapt the procedures, because they’re not the same for children as for adults, or to try out your social skills, along with many other things.
What units have you been in and which do you want to focus on?
At the moment I’m in Palliative Care and I now only have Paediatric Intensive Care and home care left to do. I’ve already done Neonatology, Oncology, Day Hospital and other Units. I actually haven’t finally decided yet because the nursing residency has made me realise that I like a lot of things.
What have you learned so far?
I’ve acquired a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge. If I had to try and summarise what I’ve learned so far, I’ve realised that in the nursing profession you never stop learning and that the process is continuous. As regards more humane aspects of the profession, I’ve learned to deal with children and also with their families in all kinds of circumstances.