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New: A First Salon in Elgin, Ontario, Canada March 16, 2010

Posted by mariemanthey in Nursing Salons, Professional Practice.
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Last month I visited a hospital in Elgin, (near London) Ontario, Canada.  A group of nurses there converted a standard large conference room into a lovely warm living room environment.  They set up comfortable over-sized chairs, used floor and table lamps for warm lighting, and even rented a fireplace. Delicious food was served and the environment was perfect for a Salon.  Nurses from around the region and different walks of nursing were invited.

These Salon experiences are always amazing  to me.   As soon as someone first answers the question, “What’s on your mind about nursing tonight?” the energy starts to flow, issues come forward, and the magic begins. Believe me it is not all sweetness and light. The dark realities, and hard truths about our work are all brought out. And they are not ignored. What happens by the time we  do the around-the-room checkout, is that the incredible, rich and rewarding aspects of nursing return to our consciousness and everyone feels better.

In this case, in addition to the usual issues re. workload and staffing, morale and leadership (etc…) this time, in the presence of many students, there was an open and frank discussion about how senior nurses feel occasionally about being preceptors.

After a serious discussion, both students and older nurses said they now understand each other better. Students caught on that nurses’ unmanageable stress effects everyone and not just them personally.  New approaches to precepting were also discussed. The check out comments reflected a completely different energy than was there earlier.  This is a process that is working. Let’s keep it growing!