Empowering Nurses: West Haldimand General Hospital’s innovative Clinical Scholar program

Nursing is a demanding and vital profession that requires continuous growth and development. West Haldimand General Hospital (WHGH) recognizes the importance of empowering nurses and supporting their professional journey. The Clinical Scholar Program pilot was launched in September 2023. This ministry funded program aims to strengthen our nursing workforce while enriching the professional development of our dedicated staff at WHGH.

Benefits of the Clinical Scholar Program

The Clinical Scholar Program is designed to provide support and mentorship to Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) at different stages of their careers. The program pairs experienced front-line nurses with newly graduated nurses, internationally educated nurses, and those seeking to upskill. By fostering mentorship and skill development, we aim to ensure a confident transition into the nursing profession while retaining our experienced nursing staff.

The Clinical Scholar Program offers numerous benefits for both the mentor and mentee. Through this program, newly graduated nurses and those seeking to upskill will have access to the guidance and expertise of experienced nurses, in a supernumerary position. This mentorship will not only enhance their clinical skills but also provide valuable insights into the profession.

For the mentors, the program provides an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise while developing leadership and coaching skills. It allows them to make a positive impact on the nursing workforce by helping shape the next generation of nurses.

Elaine Keunen has been a key figure in the Clinical Scholar Program, dedicating herself full-time to supporting our Inpatient Unit and Emergency Department.

By the end of February 2024, Elaine had mentored over 50 RNs and RPNs, contributing more than 825 hours of guidance. Her commitment has been a driving force in enhancing our nursing staff’s skills, knowledge, and professional growth, which in turn has improved patient care quality and the overall healthcare experience at WHGH.

As the Clinical Scholar Program ends this March 2024, we want to thank Elaine for her outstanding dedication and hard work. Elaine has been crucial to the program’s success, providing invaluable support and guidance to our nurses at WHGH. We’re truly grateful for her commitment and the positive difference she has made in nursing at our hospital. Thank you, Elaine, for all you’ve contributed.