Grace began her career where the learning was best.
Grace studied nursing right here in Los Angeles at Mount St. Mary’s College, and did her clinicals at UCLA. So she knew there were a lot of great reasons for starting a career at UCLA Health. But for Grace, the nearly unlimited opportunities for learning were among the most important. “UCLA is such an innovative hospital, and it’s great to work where there are so many new things going on. But the main thing is, they put so much effort into making sure we have the training to learn them. So if a new program is coming to the unit, the clinical nurse specialist or clinical educator sets up in-service training. So we can bring all the new innovations into how we practice.”
“The Administration pushes out all kinds of learning.”
“I came here right out of nursing school. And now, I’m a Board Certified Psychiatric Nurse,” says Grace. “So I think we’re pretty lucky to have an Administration that pushes education as much as UCLA does.” And the learning opportunities go beyond just nursing skills. “I’ve learned to work as a preceptor and educator. I’ve worked in the lab and I’ve even worked with insurance.” Where does it stop? “It never stops,” says Grace. “You can take courses in ethics, in pain, in evidence-based practice, in research… just name it.” And for nurses who want to train in new clinical areas? “UCLA promotes that,” she says. “They want our skills as broad-based as possible.”
“There’s nothing like training to make a new nurse feel welcome!”
Grace knows how intimidating UCLA can be for even experienced nurses when they first arrive. “It was easier for me because of the time I spent here while I was still in school.” So how does UCLA deal with the intimidation factor? “We have really strong orientation programs,” she says, “especially for new grads. There’s Launch Pad, which is something about 4 days of skills labs and classes before you even get to the floor. Then you’re paired with a preceptor and you could have up to a week of classes depending on your unit. And then orientation for the unit might be another 6 weeks to 3 months. So they make sure nurses are really ready here.”
What besides learning is so great about UCLA?
“Are you kidding? Don’t get me started!” But we got her started. “The move to Magnet has been very powerful. For the nurses and the hospital.” And then there’s CICARE, the evidence-based system UCLA uses for interacting with patients. “It gives us a way to communicate with our patients and with each other that builds understanding and trust.” But what Grace seems to like best about UCLA is the people she works with. “They’re not just my coworkers. They’re my friends. My family! People here always have my back. And they know I have theirs. How else do you build trust?” she asked. How indeed. “If you want great teamwork, you have to start with a great team. And that’s what I love most about UCLA. I get to be part of such an amazing team effort.”