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How to Find Success in Nursing According to RPN Ashley Fox

March 16, 2022

In our quest to find interesting and valuable content to share with the Caring Support community, we often come across outstanding healthcare workers whose passion, commitment, and dedication to their patients and their work make everyone around them believe in the power of following one's true calling.

One of those healthcare workers is Ashley Fox, a registered practical nurse (RPN), community outreach coordinator, and nurse case manager with a decade of experience in nursing and supervisory management, who is recognized by her peers as a leader in the nursing profession. She recently sat down with us to share her thoughts on how to find success in nursing.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Related: RPN Vs. RN - What Are The Differences?

Best Practices for a Successful Nursing Career from an experienced RPN

These are the recommendations RPN Ashley Fox would like other nurses and nursing students to know:

Organization is key

"It took me a while to get there, but I had to learn that organization is key. I found that if I was writing notes, no matter what part of the sector I was working in, I would set myself up for success because the sector varies so much. Being able to have that little resource in your back pocket was fantastic. I found writing my notes for report helped no matter which part of the sector I was working in" says Ashley.

Teamwork can make or break a shift

"I work as an agency nurse at times, and working in a brand new environment with residents you have not met before can be so intimidating because there's a lot to know that those who work with those residents know like the back of their hand. So, having support from others on the team has the ability to make and break the success of your shift. I've worked in a lot of homes where teamwork has been a huge benefit."

Nurses are affected by a series of common issues

"Every role that I've worked in, no matter where it is in the sector, it's always come down to the ratio, the number of patients to the number of staff. And it's interesting because every health care employee would think they're unique in that perspective and they're not right across the board, but everyone has the same concerns. Ratios of patients to staff and staffing impacts every part of the sector. And I think that's just because there are so many differences in expectations of care from patient’s perspective and staff’s perspective."

Try to eliminate medical jargon in conversations with patients

"One of the things I learned to do differently as a new grad is to eliminate medical jargon, which as a new grad, you just learn medical jargon and It's fantastic, you want to use it all the time. And what happened was that I worked in a retirement community and a resident that lived there called down to the station and said 'I need you to come up and see me when you're able.' And at the time, I was doing shift reports, so speaking to the previous shift so that they could get out, and so that I could set up for my staffing and my shift. And so I said to them 'no problem, I'll be up as soon as we're finished with the report.' What I didn't take into consideration was that they thought I was actually writing a physical report, so they thought I actually chose not to go see them because I was spending so much time writing this physical paper report. It really drew attention to me that we need to explain things with a better rationale to patients. I find that any of my patients that had different expectations or different views of the health care system if you were able to sit down and actually explain to them their perspective has changed and they are a little bit more open to saying 'okay, I recognize that Ashley's going to take a few minutes because she's doing this.' They feel like they're part of that role and they feel empowered."

Never turn down an opportunity to learn

"The biggest thing I can recommend for anyone looking to get either into the medical field to start or even looking into supervisory roles is to never turn down an opportunity to learn. And that doesn't mean that you have to be taking continuing education courses all the time because there are lots of opportunities to learn on the frontline level.... you don't have to go out and take a university degree. There's so much that you can learn from anyone, really. It doesn't have to be just the nurse. You can learn from your patient. You can learn from other inter-professionals."

Be a jack of all trades

"Many nurses that I have spoken to always want to dabble in a specific field. You know, like 'I want to go into surgical or I wanted to go into something specific.' I find that the most success that I've had in my field is because I focused on being a jack of all trades. I'm not interested in going into a specific role in nursing. If it works out, then it works out. but otherwise, I like to learn everything that I can to be the best nurse that I can and to help my patients."

Find inspiration around you

"The most inspirational... You know, it's got to be any of the nurses that I've worked with, whether that was in a training or whether that was just in any employment that I've sought along in my career. Some of them are aware and some of them are not, but they were a mentor, so they moulded that nurse that was coming into the future. Whether they were aware of it or not is another story. But they all had some form of creating this version of Ashley, really."

Engage in social media and re-share good content

"Whether it's patient care or I follow quite a few nurses who have branched out into different employment roles, become entrepreneurs, etc., part of me just wants to share their voice. I mean, we're flicking through our phones or flicking through the channels. We don't really pause and actually interpret that information. So if I can give that person a voice across my platform, I've always said across a few platforms that I exist on, like if you have something you want to say, whether it's anonymous or you want it amplified, let me know. I'm happy to share."

Don’t be afraid to apply

"Postings may share additional years of experience required. Sometimes you may learn this over time, and sometimes this is the feedback you need to approach a future role, so don't be afraid to apply to a role."

About RPN Ashley Fox:

Ashley Fox is a registered practical nurse who has worked in community and home care, retirement and LTC, addiction and mental health, palliative care settings, as well as various hospital settings. She is presently the Community Outreach Coordinator for Promyse Home Care, a home care provider specializing in medical and non-medical nurse case-managed patient-centred care. She is also a social media marketer.

In her own words: "I'm a registered practical nurse. I work in currently in home care, but my background was in retirement, long-term care, hospital and dabbled a little bit in the addiction sector as well. What I do differently is I actually really do enjoy sharing other perspectives. I think we learn a lot more, not just from ourselves, but we learn more for our patient-centred care; we learn more about what other roles are, and as we know, the sector is just very complex. There's a lot to learn. And if you're not in it, it's hard to imagine."

You can find and connect with Ashely on LinkedIn and Twitter, or you can leave your comments or questions for her in the comment section below.

More Useful Reading:

A Day In The Life Of A Nursing Student - Skye Moore

A Decade Of Nursing With RN Kerry-Ann Raymond

Tips To Write An Effective New Graduate Nurse Resume

And if you want to start your nursing journey, just like Ashley, we recommend you sign up to our platform to benefit from all the helpful features it offers for nurses and healthcare workers. Visit our main page to learn more.

Thank you for reading!

About The Author
Laura Woodman
Content Marketing Specialist

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