Since its modest beginnings in 1875 when a group of women volunteers led by Elizabeth McMaster rented an 11-room house and set up six iron cots, SickKids has become one of the top four children’s hospitals in the world. It is internationally renowned for its world-class patient care, research, education and advocacy. SickKids is one of the largest paediatric academic health science centres in the world, but for thousands of children and families, it is quite simply the place where they find hope.
Nursing at SickKids
Caring for the most critically ill children requires the most skilled, knowledgeable and talented health professionals across all disciplines. Nursing is no exception. Rather, it is at the very heart of what makes SickKids so special. SickKids nurses are leaders who influence and deliver the best in family-centred paediatric nursing care to the world’s children. Whether working as a frontline care provider, educator, clinical manager, advanced practice nurse or clinician scientist, each practitioner is valued for his or her essential contribution to achieving the highest level of professional paediatric nursing care for children and their families.
Leading Innovation in Paediatric Nursing
SickKids is a tertiary/quaternary academic health science centre providing inpatient, emergency and ambulatory services, and is set apart from other local paediatric centres by the high-risk medical status of its patient population. The complexity of care our patients require demands that nurses possess excellent clinical, leadership and research skills, knowledge and judgment. Supporting nurses in achieving the highest standards of care for our patients is a priority, and nurses play a key role in developing protocols to ensure these standards are met. Cardiac critical care nurse Alison Dodds is also a project manager for staff development, which involves developing tools for nurses to enhance their bedside leadership abilities. "The hospital is very focused on staff development and empowers nurses to take on leadership roles that will enhance their practice," Dodds says.
The hospital’s Centre for Nursing is a hub of activity where leadership in practice, education, research and administration come together to support excellence in nursing practice and advocacy for the profession. The RN Council, established in 1988, represents staff nurses’ interests while providing its members with strong and accessible leadership. The Council also gives nurses a collective voice wherein they can influence change and contribute to the vision of nursing at SickKids.
SickKids is a teaching hospital, and students from around the world come to gain valuable experience in a dynamic learning environment. Learning at all levels is supported through many varied education initiatives. New hires are supported through orientation and preceptorship programs as they transition from novice nurse to paediatric nurse.
|Clinical support nurses facilitate the development of highly specialized nursing skills and competence in the care of critically ill children and their families through enhanced orientation and education support. Unique job sharing opportunities can be established with nurses interested in role expansion.
Fostering a Culture of Lifelong Learning
The Nursing Scholarship Fund and Foundation Education Tuition Reimbursement Fund provide extensive financial support to nurses pursuing academic education or attending conferences and seminars. There is a vast array of credit and certificate courses from which nurses may choose, many of which are offered on site and in collaboration with universities and colleges. Cardiac critical care nurse Natasha Brownrigg has enjoyed several hospital-supported opportunities to advance her education. "At SickKids, you’re encouraged to further your education – the hospital provides funding, helps you apply for education grants and accommodates your class schedule," Brownrigg says.
At SickKids, research, providing the evidence that supports practice, is often initiated through nursing observation. Under the leadership of a dedicated team of nursing research specialists, nursing research at SickKids has flourished. Monthly Nursing Research Lunch and Learn sessions are just one of the many opportunities available for nurses to develop their knowledge and expertise.
If your goal is to work as a paediatric nurse in an environment where excellence in nursing practice, education and research is fostered, realized and celebrated, consider a career at SickKids.