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Dolly Palin profile picture
May 13, 2020

Nursing strength is teamwork

Many of us picture nurses as the people who provide direct patient care: taking a blood pressure reading, changing bandages or inserting an IV. In truth, nursing covers a wide range of work, including research, leadership and education. All of these roles are essential, especially during a pandemic.

Dolly Palin has been a nurse for 28 years at Hamilton Health Sciences and currently works as an Education and Development Clinician. She spent the first ten years of her career on the pediatrics floor and now provides training and support to staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She is also active in quality and safety programs.

“There are lots of opportunities in nursing,” she says.

Supporting staff

For the past few weeks, Palin has been working tirelessly to equip health care teams with essential information about changes in practice due to Covid-19. Instructions can change daily but Palin says it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.

“We’re really supporting staff through it,” she says. “There’s lots of anxiety out there. Our job is helping people know what the standards are. We’re helping people understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, within the local context.”

Palin has given demonstrations showing how to put on and remove personal protective equipment safely. She’s answered questions about when to wear a mask and why as standards changed across the organization. And she has shared best practices and updates about hand hygiene, staff screening for Covid-19 and new visitor regulations.

Be open to change

“I like a challenge,” she says. “I really like supporting staff with their educational needs.”

Palin’s advice for nurses just starting out? Get involved.

“Be a change agent,” she says. “Be an early adopter of change when it’s initiated. Change is constant in health care. There’s always new processes, there’s always new solutions and best practices. How we learned five years ago may not be how we’re teaching it today. Be open to the change and open to learning.”

Here for patients and families

She’s also quick to recognize what else makes a difference on the team, especially during these challenging times.

“A positive attitude goes a long way,” says Palin. “When people have a positive attitude, it gets shared with members of their team as well. We’re all in this together. Nurses are here for our patients and families. We’re all part of that team and working together with that team is so important.”

National Nursing Week runs May 11-17.