What It’s Like to be at the Forefront of Nursing

Field Nurse Educator

What It’s Like to be at the Forefront of Nursing

Working as a clinical Field-Based Nurse Educator provides the unique opportunity to support physicians and other members of the healthcare team while also providing support to patients and their families. My very first patient visit as a UBC clinical nurse educator was to educate a patient on how to self-administer a medication to manage her autoimmune disease.

It was 3:45 p.m. on a weekday as I pulled up to my patient's house. The visit was scheduled for 4 p.m., shortly after she arrived home from her job as a school administrator. I knew I had no reason to be nervous but I was. I had worked with this particular therapy and disease state for a number of years, could recite pieces of the package insert, clinical trial efficacy and risk messages, and knew the administration steps by heart. Not to mention, I had actually performed a placebo injection on myself before I came to work at UBC. I truly believed the medication was the best therapeutic option for patients and witnessed firsthand how it had changed many lives. I was even responsible for training my fellow nurse educators on the therapy and the disease state. But there was just something about teaching my first patient in her home that gave me those butterflies again.

Before I could shut off my car, my patient and her husband rushed outside to greet me. I could tell they had that same nervous energy as soon as I saw them. We shook hands and did our introductions as they led me inside to sit at their kitchen table. 

I asked my patient if she had received any training materials, and she indicated she had. I wondered what she was doing when she went to her refrigerator and pulled out two huge boxes. She couldn't have refrigerated her patient start kit and other supplies that she was supposed to review prior to my visit… could she have? We opened the boxes together, and, yes, pulled out the patient starter kit, a DVD, a few brochures, and then her medication. We both laughed because she thought both boxes were her medication, and she didn't want to think about today's visit until the time actually arrived.  

I spent about an hour reviewing the medication guide, starter kit, discussing therapy expectations, common side effects, and walking through the administration steps. We practiced the injection about three times on a piece of fruit and even had her husband practice in case she needed the extra support. Then, it was time for my patient to actually administer her first injection. She left me at her kitchen table and went upstairs to change into a pair of gym shorts that she nicknamed her ‘injection shorts.’ With me sitting by her side and her husband at the other, after a few nervous attempts, she succeeded in sticking the needle in her leg. I could immediately tell a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and grabbed my hands and said, “Thank you!”

Helping patients learn to take control of their disease and improve their quality of life is an unbelievable feeling. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized what an impact my visit had just made on her life. I was invited to stay for dinner — chicken casserole — but I kindly declined. After some follow-up questions and quick paperwork, my first visit was complete, and those butterflies I had a few hours ago were now nowhere to be found. Experiences like this truly motivate me: I never would have thought my life could be changed by simply teaching a patient to self-inject.

We’re looking for nurses to join our exceptional team. Our Field Nurse Educators support pharmaceutical manufacturers to build trust within the prescribing community and ensure patients benefit from all of the services available to them. Click here to learn more and explore the openings throughout the United States.

More stories from our clinicians

UBC Celebrates National Nurses Week

UBC is honoring National Nurses Week by highlighting our nurses and their worldwide impact on patient care. Through their commitment and compassion, our nurses echo the themes of the American Nurses Association’s 2015 celebration: ethical practice and quality care. Click here to learn more.