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

Posted by mariemanthey in Nursing Salons, Professional Practice.
Tags: , , ,

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!


1. Heidi Orstad - January 15, 2015

Loved reading this.

I can recall being nurse new to labor and delivery and the fear I had going to work, worried that I might not have back up of my peers when I needed it. After my 6 weeks of precepting, I recall one of the senior nurses stating that they believed in the practice of “baptism by fire” when explaining why none of them came in to assist me when I put on the call light for back-up at a complicated delivery.

Lucky for me (and the patients) not all of the experienced nurses practiced such an “induction”, and shortly after my precepting, I was “included” in the L and D club and received peer support. That being said, those weeks between orientation and being “included” in the club were unnecessarily stressful.

It is interesting to me that, in my experience and those of my nurse friends, those fields where nurses are working in “life and death” situations (ER, ICU, Surgery, L and D), this sort of “induction” practice seems more apparent then in other fields. In fact, can say that I had the opposite experience in all of my other orientation and precepting experiences as a new employee (thankfully!).

I can also say that, as a leader, I am purposeful in partnering with the trainers, supervisors and preceptors to develop orientation and precepting plans to meet the needs of the nurse AND preceptor as a result of some of what I learned along the way!


2. mariemanthey - January 17, 2015

As the concept of partnerships begins to replace the ‘pecking order’ mentality that has dominated the medical profession, we will hopefully begin to use the new paradigm for all types of relationships….even precepting. Nourishing and supporting the nurses of the future!

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