Chapter 8

Gaining Confidence

I Have a Voice

Before this case, I didn’t realize how important communication and interprofessional collaboration were in caring for patients.

I’d developed many medical and technical skills in school, but there were some skills I was missing. To perform my job well, I needed to develop the confidence to share important details and advocate for my patients, stronger communication skills, and the ability to collaborate with other members of the interprofessional health team.

Quite often, these skills are gained through hands-on experience, instead of in the classroom. Seeing first hand that my patients needed me to advocate for them and that I played an important role within the healthcare team, gave me the confidence in voicing my opinions.

Final Thoughts

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Teamwork is hardwork

Team work can be challenging at times. Every member of your team will have a different levels of experience, ways of working, and social-cultural backgrounds. In this environment, conflicts will always arise. But it’s how we resolve conflict that matters. Learning about your colleagues, and reflecting on your own skills, characteristics, and views will help you develop strategies for mitigating conflict. It’s also important to practice being open to ideas and listening to those around you.

Communication breakdowns happen

Communication breakdowns and miscommunications happen – but it’s how you correct these issues that matters. We need to be adaptable and flexible so that we can change the plan when we need to, and problem solve without blaming others. Listening to others and being open to possible solutions is key.

Sometimes we experience challenging interpersonal conflicts

Sometimes we experience challenging interpersonal conflicts with people we work with. This may be caused by a misunderstanding – either you’re misinterpreting the persons actions, or they’re not aware how their actions are affecting you. Or it could be caused by discrimination. In either case, reach out for support. A trusted colleague, HR representative or mentor may be able to help you evaluate the situation and figure out how to handle it.

Support matters

Not all leaders can see when their team members are struggling, because everyone has the same level of intuition. Your colleagues may not recognize when you need help or support, so make sure to ask for it. You can also learn a lot by reaching out. There are people around you with a lot of experience, and connecting with them will help you build better relationships and improve your ability to collaborate.

It's important to learn about patient resources

Navigating the complex network of supports available to patients is extremely important. In Canada, these supports are constantly changing. Developing a professional network by reaching out to colleagues across units and organizations will help you navigate the system to arrange better care for your patient. You may not know about every resource that exists – and that’s okay. What’s important is that you’re comfortable doing some research, reaching out and asking questions to find out what’s out there.

Professional development is an ongoing process

Honing your skills and abilities as part of a health care team is an ongoing process. It may be overwhelming in the beginning, especially as you adjust to working in a new country and culture. But remember that the people around you are also learning – no matter how much experience they may have, there’s always something new to learn.

Questions for Herminia

Confidence comes when a healthcare professional is competent in skills. Each skill requires both the knowledge and the practice experience to become competent and confident.

Competence and confidence helps a practitioner to speak up or advocate for a patient and safety. It takes time to develop competence and confidence. This nurse gained competence and confidence as she transitioned to the new Canadian health care system.

As the confidence and competence of the nurse increase over time, it also increases work readiness of the nurse in the current practice setting.