Sharing the Journey: Being an Exemplary Role Model
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Nurses are constantly being observed. Patients, family members, students, and colleagues watch their actions and interpersonal interactions. Often nurses are role models potentially influencing the behaviors and attitudes of others in either positive or negative ways. As Bartz (2007) observed, role models “serve as a catalyst to transform as they instruct, counsel, guide, and facilitate the development of others” (p. 7). This paper describes the role modeling behaviors of exemplary palliative care nurses and the effect on others. The participants in this project were nurses who were identified by their colleagues as outstanding caregivers. At the outset of this study all of the nurses on a palliative care unit in a larger tertiary care hospital were asked the question, “If you were ill, which of your nurse colleagues would you want to care for you?” Nominations were sent to the investigator anonymously and from those nominated 8 nurses were randomly chosen to participate in the study. The researcher collected data by interviewing and observing these outstanding nurses over a period of 40 weeks. Data analysis revealed themes. One major theme was that these outstanding nurses were also excellent role models. What made them outstanding role models? Secondary themes included, attending to the little things, making connections, maintaining a light-hearted attitude, modeling, and affirming others. Benefits - this is an important nursing conference. It is the annual gathering of the oncology nurses of Canada and is usually attended by influential nurses from other countries as well. There are often 700 plus delegates. It is a research based conference and all the Canadian nurse researchers who have interest in oncology and palliative care attend. There is the potential to reach nurses who may be interested in studying at the post-RN and graduate levels at AU.