Best of both worlds
It looks like sometimes I can have the best of both worlds; spending time with my patients (and hopefully helping to improve their lives/ restore wellness) while having the opportunity to travel, to interview and observe surgeons from around the world. It’s been a difficult balance because it’s hard to find nurse practitioner positions that allow the sort of flexibility I need to continue my other (pursuits?)
Nurse Practitioner/ Medical Writer?
I love being a nurse practitioner but I also see myself as a writer so it’s hard to relegate my journalistic endeavors to the little corner known as ‘hobby’. In fact, I feel that my travels are an essential counterbalance to my daily practice in nursing and cardiothoracic surgery. My travels, particularly into cardiothoracic surgery in other locations – give me grounding and perspective. Otherwise, without continuous effort – things can become too routine, too “by rote”. While it’s critical to stay-up-to-date in medicine; it’s also crucial to continue to think about what we are doing – to get away from the ‘cookbook medicine’ of algorithms and protocols every so often.
Is it all about the protocol?
Protocols and algorithms based on ‘evidence-based practice’ are highly useful but they aren’t the only consideration when it comes to patient care. Patients are individuals – and care needs to be individualized to each person’s situation and needs – which is where protocols often fail.
So it’s also helpful to see other variations in practice. Sometimes the ways that other people/ hospitals/ groups practice isn’t just different; it’s better. Maybe it’s not better for every situation, and maybe it shouldn’t replace the current standardized protocols at your hospital – but it might fit the needs of some of your individual patients.
But you have to be more that open and receptive to the idea of variations in practice – you have to be aware of different practices. While conferences, lectures and publications may present and discuss different practices, the best way to learn about and see different practices – is to go there.
But how/ when can a working nurse practitioner find the time to see different practices?
Both, now I have found a way to see and experience this on both a national and international level. I’ve begun practicing as a locum tenums (or temporary) nurse practitioner at different facilities in the United States. I work for a few (or several) months at different hospitals and practices across the USA – giving me a spectrum of care within a basic framework of American medicine; from rural or small-town surgery programs to big-city/ metropolitan or academic settings.
In between assignments – with careful planning and budgeting, I can continue my international travels.. So far it seems ideal..