This is part of a series of stories profiling members of the Niagara Health team and the work they are doing as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet Tarrah Long, a Nurse Educator.
Witnessing the resiliency of the Niagara Health nursing team has been most inspiring for Tarrah Long during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The nursing teams in general have demonstrated great resilience in a time when things were changing continuously (in the early months of the pandemic),” says Tarrah, a Nurse Educator at our Greater Niagara General (GNG) Site in Niagara Falls. “Even when adjustments were made to the clinical areas that they were supporting, they all continued to provide the same level of quality of care, ensuring that we had that patient-centred approach in a time when things became more challenging.”
Tarrah and other members of the Nurse Educator team are responsible for developing, implementing and facilitating learning activities that enhance the nursing practice at Niagara Health.
“We’re heavily involved with the onboarding and bringing in new nursing staff, and providing that education and introduction to nursing at Niagara Health,” says Tarrah. “We also help to support our nursing team with any change in practice or change in policy that is occurring at the unit level, and making sure we align education and evaluation with best practices and accreditation standards. Our role also includes support on a day-to-day basis, offering our expertise in the clinical areas to help nurses during patient care for challenging situations they may come across.”
Tarrah, who has been part of the Niagara Health team for two years, is a Nurse Educator for the Medical and Surgical Inpatient Units and Endoscopy and Ambulatory Clinics at GNG.
In the early months of the pandemic, orientation sessions for new nurses were held virtually or through online training for safety reasons. Those sessions are now in-person with safety precautions in place, including participants wearing masks and ensuring physical distancing in the training rooms.
“Our educator team has had to rethink and reevaluate how we are providing education to our new staff members coming into our organization, and how we can better support them with the restrictions that have been implemented,” Tarrah says.
Nurse Educators have also been part of the planning for potential surges in patient volumes, including supporting staff who had to be redeployed to other units as part of our response to the pandemic.
“We had to consider what our experienced nurses required to practice safely and provide safe patient care within those new clinical areas,” she says. “If a nurse has been practicing for 20 years in a specialty area and may have to support a COVID unit, what skills do they already have and what skills do we need to provide additional support with to make sure they can practice safely and feel confident?”
Tarrah is proud to be part of the Nurse Educator team.
“We have great expertise within our Nurse Educator team. They are very supportive of each other and of the clinical teams that they work with. Clinically, there are many years of experience that our team brings to the table. Our Nurse Educator team is passionate about providing extraordinary care for every patient every time, and work to ensure our nurses have the education and knowledge to provide that level of care."
When asked how she relaxes outside of work, Tarrah responds: “It’s mostly spending time with my immediate family (husband and three children) at home. Our kids like to have family movie nights and family dinners. We made some of those things special during the pandemic, where we sometimes in the hustle and bustle of regular life don’t have time to appreciate all of those moments. Being home together more often and outside of our normal busy routines has been rejuvenating for us as a family.”