May 11, 2017

National Nursing Week Professional Profile Series: Nancy Ann Batten

What inspired you to become a nurse?

When I was young, one of our neighbours took in foster children with special needs and I always described them as “my” children. I wanted to look after them. That led me to know that I wanted to do something that involved caring for other people. Originally, I wanted to become an occupational therapist but Memorial University didn’t offer that program so I went into the nursing program and didn’t look back.


How has your role changed over the years?

I started as a bedside nurse in the ICU at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s. I did this for seven years. By that time, I wanted to learn something different. So, I joined the Coronary Care Unit and practiced bedside nursing there for a decade. It was still critical care but just concentrated on coronary patients. During those ten years, I took on roles as charge nurse and nurse facilitator for brief periods of time.

In my current role as a Clinical Nurse Educator, my work is more aligned with the administrative structure rather than frontline care, and I’ve subsequently seen the use of technology become more prevalent. For example, we recently incorporated Skype into our cardiac care orientation sessions, allowing my learners to complete the education units from their respective locations rather than travel to St. John’s for the three-week classroom portion of the course.


Have you had a career-defining moment—one patient or one case—which reaffirmed that you are truly making a difference?

Naming just one is difficult. I’ve often had patients’ families thank me for providing such good care, thank me for being there for them and for looking after their loved one.

A few weeks ago, I ran into the wife of a patient I had nursed 23 years ago.  She described me as the “best nurse her husband ever had.” This is a very rewarding feeling, and reminds me that I made a difference in someone’s life. It’s very humbling.


Nursing roles are ever-evolving and this year’s National Nursing Week theme is “#YESThisIsNursing”. What is one thing readers might be surprised to learn is part of your role as a nurse?

I don’t think people realize all the hats nurses wear – from social worker to physiotherapists, to patient advocate.

No matter the role—as bedside nurses or clinical educators—what’s best for the patient must be at the forefront of all we do. We advocate for the best products and the appropriate medication, keeping patient safety and patient outcomes top of mind.


How does being part of a national Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) support your role as a hospital clinician?

Getting other people’s input helps me understand issues with products from users across Canada and being part of HealthPRO helps standardize the products we use in our Region. When we all use a standardized product, we can share ideas to determine if we have an issue with it. Being a part of a national GPO also brings us some cost savings that we can then invest in other areas.


I am a nurse because…

I like to help people and I want to help people.