Continuing Education in the Caribbean

At Solheim Enterprises we are definitely ready to experience all that summer has to offer. That’s one thing that we look forward to as we travel around this beautiful country and meet many of you. Our family of speakers work hard to bring the best educational opportunities to our fellow nurses around the country, but we work even harder to ensure we find balance in our lives. Any ED nurse will tell you, if we cannot make time for ourselves and what heals our many wounds, we will not be able to continue doing what we do for very long without feeling fatigue and burnout. It is this very concept that I want to focus on here.

From the first days of Solheim Enterprises, Jeff has been a strong advocate for balance and diversity. He instilled this value in me when I began teaching for him in 2008, and we try to make it a top priority with our speakers and staff. Let me first take a moment to point out some ways we have tried to implement this concept in our company, and then, hopefully, I will show how this can be a part of the practice for you and your staff.

One way that we try to accomplish this is to make education entertaining and, dare I say, fun for the participant. By lightening the mood, we can take incredibly deep concepts and make them manageable and effortless to learn. We have always sought to use humor as a vehicle for facilitating learning, which is a validated concept rooted in various scientific principles, but more importantly how it relieves the anxiety from the learner and allows them to focus on comprehension and retention. This has another fun side-effect; it makes it fun for the presenter as well! By circumventing the apprehension and fear of the exam or the fact that a nurse is asked to sit in a room for 16 hours listening to me (or another instructor) yammer on, one of the largest barriers to success on a certification exam is removed. This concept can be easily translated to a typical emergency department as well. I am not saying to make light of the job or the emergencies the patients are facing, I am encouraging you to look for ways to remove the fear of the situations we face everyday and focus on what we can do to affect positive change in these desperate situations. 

Another way we try to infuse more balance and joy into our careers is to take advantage of alternate avenues to accomplish our tasks. For instance, we are always looking to employ novel approaches to learning; everything from flipping the classroom, to interactive seminars, to case study evaluations, to courses on cruise ships. That right! What about taking your next two-day seminar on board a luxury cruise ship bound for a paradise destination? For the past several years, Solheim Enterprises has worked with The Cruise Academy to merge education with vacation. By doing this, we allow hardworking nurses the opportunity to get away and gain some much-needed rest and rejuvenation on a cruise while they enhance their knowledge with a course. The Cruise Academy has done multiple certifications reviews this way as well as specialized courses on cardiovascular care, nursing leadership, critical care updates and much more. This fall we are excited to bring one of our most beloved courses to the open seas: Overcoming Analysis Paralysis. In this course we will guide healthcare workers from all backgrounds through the minefield that is lab interpretation as well and electrocardiogram and arterial blood gas interpretation. Imagine taking your family or your work-family on an 8-day cruise to the Caribbean and come back with full understanding of how to read every lab value you are likely to see in your patients! For more information on this upcoming cruise, visit the Cruise Academy website at www.thecruiseacademy.com. Now I do understand that you cannot hold your staff meetings in tropical locations, but have you ever considered an off-site staff meeting? Maybe at a local venue, botanical garden, or even, dare I say, winery? Might that dramatically improve attendance and engagement? Is something like this an option for your department? Food for thought!

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I hope you take away a few things from this message that can help you see your profession and your personal life as two extremely important entities which must both be tended to in order to allow you the capacity for nurturing and healing of others.

Bill Light Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer, Solheim Enterprises