An 'eye-opening' experience: Canadian physician shadows nurse for a day

A pediatrician at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, walked 12 hours in a nurse's shoes as part of a fundraiser and team-building experience and gained some perspective on what nurses do day in and day out.

Staff in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit donated $1 to vote on a physician who would spend the day as a nurse. Laurance Lequier, MD, a pediatric intensivist and medical director of the PICU, won, and spent a 12-hour shift shadowing Brittany Collins, RN, who has worked in the PICU for three and a half years.

Usually, Dr. Lequier spends roughly 20 minutes with 12 to 16 patients during a shift. With Ms. Collins, he spent the 12-hour shift with just one patient.

"I think it was quite the transition for him to go from writing orders at the bedside for many patients on the floor to doing the hands-on work with one patient for the whole shift," Ms. Collins said.

Dr. Lequier said it was an "educational and eye-opening experience."

The experience may even spark change at Stollery Children's, as Dr. Lequier said he will suggest all residents on the unit to work a shift shadowing a nurse.

"I think there is a huge opportunity to learn how each person on a unit contributes to the care of one person," he said. "RNs spend more time with patients than we as physicians do, having an understanding of how they care for a patient and experiencing a completely different view can only make us better physicians."

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