The Pulse | Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Transition to Practice: Helping Nurses Realize Their GI Dreams
Christine Kohlman, MSN BSN RN CGRN, remembers exactly when she wanted to become a GI nurse.
It was 2002 and then-Today Show host Katie Couric had a live colonoscopy to promote colon cancer screenings. Kohlman, a nurse at the time, had been deeply affected by the disease. Her great grandfather died from colon cancer at age 40, and her grandmother had a colon mass removed in the ‘90s.
She thought to herself that transitioning to GI felt right, and took a chance.
“It was a new opportunity to do something in nursing,” she said.
It’s not uncommon for nurses and associates to find themselves in different areas of practice throughout their career. Stories like Kohlman’s are common, especially in the GI field, which is why SGNA wanted to create a program to help those seeking to make the switch.
Transition to Practice, which launched in April 2019, supports the content, foundational training and practice of those transitioning into gastroenterology nursing. All the modules of the program are online and self-paced, allowing the learner to complete them in their own time. SGNA staff and committee members developed the program with GI nurses who had experiences in areas as educators, nurse managers and Infection Prevention Champions.
“Transition to Practice gives participants the opportunity to understand the reasons for their practice,” said Mary Grealish, MSN RN CGRN CSRN. Grealish was one of the contributors who helped build the program. “It helps them understand A&P first, then pathology and treatment options.”
Some of the topics covered in the program modules include anatomy, physiology and pathology of the gastrointestinal tract; endoscopes and accessory equipment; infection prevention; moderate sedation; and role delineation in GI nursing.
Karen Zervopoulos, RN CGRN CFER CSPFT CAIP, was another SGNA member involved in the development of Transition to Practice. She said each of the modules has been designed specifically for those with very little experience in GI.
“After completing the five modules, a new nurse to the field will have a greater understanding of gastroenterology and endoscopy, helping them to be more successful in their new position,” she said.
Kohlman served as a test subject for the pilot program. She said when she first transitioned into GI, she had to learn everything on the go from other nurses on the floor. When it came to the more technical aspects, she picked that up when she started to actually study for the test.
As she began the pilot program for Transition to Practice, she was impressed how organized and easy to digest it was. Its format, she said, would be extremely beneficial to someone trying to get into GI.
“I think it’s a great way for new nurses and associates to gain knowledge about GI from the beginning— anatomy, equipment that is involved,” she said. “It’s a great resource for new staff to not only help themselves learn, but also help their patients learn about their own procedures and conditions.”
For anyone considering the transition, Kohlman said these modules will give them a good start. She said GI is a fast-paced environment, but is also a very rewarding one.
“It’s an ever-evolving area to be part of,” she said. “No matter what type of background a nurse has, I believe GI can be a great fit. Go for it!”
To learn more about Transition to Practice, please visit SGNA’s website. SGNA is a community of nurses, technicians, medical assistants, industry representatives and other GI professionals. Members join to stay up-to-date on industry trends and evidence-based practice, receive free and discounted education, network with others passionate about gastroenterology and to feel pride in their profession. Join SGNA today!