“The patient profile is becoming increasingly complex and requires more specific nursing care”
Laura Lahuerta was on the EIR resident nurse programme in the first year it ran. Six years later, she assures us that she would do her residency again at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital, where she continues to work.
Laura already had over seven years of experience in the healthcare field when she decided to take the EIR exams. She sat them twice, as she was definite about wanting to do her residency at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and she did not manage to get a place the first time. She had experience in surgical nursing, but she wanted to try a specialist paediatric centre.
What did you learn during your EIR residency at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital?
I acquired a very broad range of skills in the two years of rotation, both in terms of providing nursing care and research and teaching or outreach. The range of paediatric specialist areas is very broad because you can work in the area of prevention in a primary care centre, go into great depth learning about procedures and treatments in the hospital and learn how to look after child patients and empower families.
Did you reinforce what you learned with theoretical and research training?
I learned a lot in the areas of nursing care and research, and research is what I’m now focusing on. The philosophy of the EIR in this centre is tutored self-directed learning. During the process you learn what you need to strengthen and how to research. In fact, the residents in the first year contributed to shaping the nursing training programme that is now in place.
In the two years of residency, you gradually give form to your research project by writing a dissertation. Then, if you are interested, you can go on to do a thesis and aim for a PhD. The truth is that I had never considered that scenario at all, but I ended up presenting a thesis.
“You acquire skills beyond nursing care, like scientific writing, communication or teaching”.
What are the benefits of rotating a lot?
You get an overall view of the different specialities and fields in paediatric nursing, from primary care to the most complex specialisation, as well as Accident and Emergency and special schooling. Constant rotation requires a lot of adapting, which can be tiring, but it’s really worthwhile because after two years of residency in the hospital you have a competent profile in all the children’s specialist areas.
Were the sessions, tutoring and other meetings useful?
The weekly sessions are very useful to acquire skills beyond nursing care, like scientific writing, communication or teaching. As regards the tutorials, the person in charge of guiding you receives assessments from the mentors in each unit, so they can tell you overall where you need to improve or strengthen. They’re also very useful in the initial period of adaptation.
Why have you stayed at the hospital?
In my year I was the winner of the prize for the best resident, which means you get a one-year contract. In my case I was able to choose the speciality and I opted for the paediatric Intensive Care Unit . I’ve stayed at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital since then and I have no intention of leaving, because here I can combine healthcare work with technology and research.
Do you think a nurse should specialise or be “all-terrain”, i.e. capable of multi-tasking?
I think specialisation is the future for our profession,because patient profiles are becoming increasingly complex and require more specific nursing care. You acquire versatility with the rotations, but you are always working towards specialisation while you’re practicing the profession, as it is a continuous process.