The journey through the stages of clinical competence (Benner 1984) is a well-trodden path for Nurse Endoscopists. From qualification to clinical expert is a road marked by long hours, dedication, studying, courses, gathering qualifications and hours of deliberation! Reaching the destination - becoming a nurse endoscopist - signifies the journeys end for most ... but not all.
The ultimate stage of clinical competence is that of 'expert'. The expert possesses the intuitive grasp of situations, based on experience and knowledge; has the ability to discern and focus on relevant problems and can use their transferable analytical skills to make appropriate judgements in expected and unexpected events. Being able to recognise demands and resources in any situation, and attain their goals - knowing what needs to be done and being able to think beyond rules to guide actions are useful skills to have attained for the expert nurse (Benner 1984). As a nurse endoscopist, the expert uses this skill and knowledge to benefit patients.
A senior nurse endoscopist, Irene Dunkley, reflects on her journey from novice to expert to novice. From the novice new recruit, to becoming an expert nurse endoscopist: to feeling a novice once again as she moves to becoming a lecturer in Higher Education. Irene is heading up a team developing a module in clinical endoscopy at the University of East Anglia. The move from clinical practice to education has been a challenging transition to make and is a common tale amongst experienced clinicians moving from practice to preaching! Such a career move is unsettling enough, but amidst a pandemic, has been bewildering. A double transition to be made - to a new role and to a new way of working. Online teaching brings a completely different set of challenges, as well as opportunities.
Moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from knowing to being uncertain, from feeling confident to being in need of reassurance. Such a move requires personal courage and a real commitment to nursing as a profession. Recognising the importance of passing your trade on to the next generation of nurse endoscopists: knowing the potential you have to influence and teach in order to continue to benefit patients is the driver to endure such a toll.
The process of transition is one of change, moving from one state to another, a professional journey made by the brave!