Jennifer Gill, LPN: On Advocacy, Leadership and Achieving Your Goals

 

Jennifer Gill is the current 1st Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Licensed Practical Nurses Association of BC. A recent (2015) grad from the new PN curriculum, Jennifer gained employment experience in acute care units as a casual in medicine, surgical, acute care for elderly (ACE) and nephrology. She is currently working in Corrections and is thrilled to have realized her nursing goal so early in her career, particularly when so many other LPN graduates in the province are struggling to find their path.

Throughout her schooling, Jennifer was a strong advocate for the LPN role, was a peer spokesperson and sat on a number of different councils. She became involved in the LPNABC as a PN Student and has remained involved in advocacy for LPNs across by sitting on the LPNABC Board.

We had an opportunity to sit down with Jennifer in September 2016, and hear some of her thoughts on the profession.

Jennifer, how would you describe your role as an LPN? I see myself as a nurse and part of the nursing family, with my focus being on “predictable patient outcomes”. People assume all nurses are Registered Nurses, and so I am striving to create my own identity as a Licensed Practical Nurse. LPNs are the generalists of the nursing profession. We manage the predictable and when it becomes unpredictable, we know when to refer our patients or clients to other specialists such as RNs, RPNs, NPs and physicians.

In your opinion, what is a nurse? A nurse is a caring, nurturing person with professional training who is able to look at an individual as a whole and assess them within the domains of holistic nursing. Nurses develop a plan of care based on what an individual needs and help them navigate the system to ensure their needs are met. If the health care system is like a car, nursing is the “engine” that makes the vehicle run.

What are you most proud of? I am proud of my education and my focus on communications. I recognize how important it is to take the time to listen to my patients/clients, distinguishing them as a person who needs me to take the time to communicate, to hear and to listen. Those extra minutes of listening can make such a difference in a patient’s/client’s outcome. I am proud to be a nurse that has standards of practice holding me accountable to advocate for my patients/clients. It’s important that I can demonstrate to my patients/clients that they are being cared for and that I see them as a “whole” person, not just a task. I love being a problem solver and activist in change. I love my profession where I can make a difference in a person’s life. If I can get a smile once each shift from my patient/client then I know they will have a better outcome, and I have done my job.

What do you hope for when you think about LPNs in B.C.? I would describe myself as an energetic, compassionate and caring person. I strongly believe that LPNs need to be better understood and optimized in B.C., and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to demonstrate my leadership competencies through advocacy and my role within LPNABC. I worked hard to achieve my education, and I hope I can help the profession move forward to be fully utilized. I know that LPNs working to their full capacity are needed – I’ve seen that in every setting I’ve worked in so far. Sometimes I worry that I’m already forgetting what I’ve learned, because my skills are not fully utilized, and I have to ask myself, why are we not using this knowledge?