The chronic and constant uncertainty surrounding the Alberta heath care system lately is making a complex situation even more uncertain for the public and professionals. In the face of growing doubts about the direction and destination of the Alberta health care system there is a need for clarity and focus. As part of a project to bring clarity and focus on the roles, responsibilities, relationships, and scope of nursing care in the province, the CLPNA decided to find out what Albertans valued most about professional nursing care.
The CLPNA recent hired my firm, Cambridge Strategies Inc. to perform a “most/least” conjoint on-line survey of over 900 randomly sampled Albertans that tracked and ranked 15 key values around professional nursing care. We also ran a parallel program of the on-line conjoint survey for members of the CLPNA and were delighted to have 1461 participants. The findings are enlightening and should be instructive, reassuring, and empowering to Licensed Practical Nurses working in Alberta today, even with all the turmoil in health care these days.
I say the results should be reassuring to LPNs because the value alignment and priorities of the public’s and those LPNs who took the survey are virtually identical. In other words LPNs believe in the same values and in the same way as the public as to what is important and expected in providing professional nursing care.
So what are those important shared values? In order of priority the most important attributes for professional nursing care are Skilled, Knowledgeable, Caring/Compassion, Thorough, and Ethical care. These values dominate. They are only 33% of the values surveyed, but for 88% of the survey participants’, one of them were the #1 value choice. That means if you want to satisfy 88% of the public’s expectations in how you provide professional nursing care you have to deliver on this five values.Read the complete “Survey Says” article published in the Spring 2010 issue of CARE magazine.
The good news for LPNs is that these values are the core professional and personal values that you overwhelming subscribe to each and every day on the job. The next big question and challenge is how well are LPNs delivering and communicating their delivery of these values to patients, the public and the power-that-be in making health care policy?
LPNs have to explain to people how they fit into the overall medical model. Clarifying the health care roles of the Doctors to diagnose and design; Nursing administrators and managers to manage and plan; and LPNs to directly deliver care at the bedside, is a key to any successful communication for the LPN profession. Everyone has their role and responsibilities, but the LPN has the opportunity at the bedside to be most effective and efficient in minute-by-minute skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate care giving. The LPN can and should be a reassuring source for human concern for people in care who are extremely vulnerable, scared and often uninformed or misinformed about what is happening to them and what is being done for them.
What do you need to do now?
Based on the survey results, skilled, knowledgeable, caring, compassionate nursing is what the people of Alberta want. That is what you are, and what you do because it is in your nature. Now you have to make sure to Talk-the-Walk if you are going to get the respect and rewards you deserve. This is how you show commitment to your profession and yourself as a professional. You also need to have conversations with your friends, families, and personal networks so they can understand and value the role, responsibility and relationship of Licensed Practical Nurses in the health care system of Alberta, and the people you serve.
Your message will be clear: Licensed Practical Nurses provide Competent, Committed Care and play an important role in the effectiveness of Alberta’s health care system.
What will your College do?
Communicate, communicate, and communicate!! We have worked closely with Linda Stanger, Executive Director of CLPNA and her team in formulating a plan which involves sharing LPN messaging with key audiences including other health care professionals, stakeholders, policy decision-makers, media and Albertans.
In addition to connecting with the mainstream media, we will be using social media as a way to get our message out. The use of social media is cost-effective, immediate, relationship-based, and encourages word-of-mouth communications. Social media efforts will be interactive with you using email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our CLPNA Blog and website for content and distribution.
We will need help from any LPN who wants to be part of the solution to help make this happen. We will be in touch and provide you with training and workshops as well as coaching and mentorship on how to use social media to get our messages out to Albertans. Learning about social media is fun. It is also a very important tool for you professionally and personally. Word of mouth is known to be the most effective method of communication, and LPNs are in the best position to use it.
The bottom line is Licensed Practical Nurses have a lot to be proud of in relation to how you contribute to the well-being of Albertans. The problem is you are too inhibited and reticent to blow your own horns. This has to change. It is not about being brash or boastful. It is about being caring and compassionate. It is about taking the time to explain to patients and other what LPNs do and to assure the public of your skills, knowledge, experience, and capacity to serve the greater good as you do your jobs – day in and day out. That’s exactly what the public wants!