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Conversation with Adrian Nowakowski: The Future of Nursing in Poland and an Innovative Approach to Care

What sparked your interest in nursing studies?

My decision to choose a career path and profession, which I eventually fell in love with, emerged from an initial phase of uncertainty as I stood at the crossroads of determining my future educational journey. Lacking clear professional aspirations, I began to explore the array of available study programs, in search of something that would capture my interest and provide a sense of fulfillment.

Among the multitude of options, nursing particularly drew my attention. Right from the start, it struck me as a choice that was not only practical but also profoundly humane. The opportunity to assist people during the most challenging moments of their lives, to have a tangible impact on their wellbeing and health, appeared to me as a noble and rewarding pursuit. Furthermore, nursing promised what I was searching for: a variety of career paths and opportunities for growth, job security, and societal appreciation for the efforts invested in caring for patients.

Choosing nursing has proven to be one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Since embarking on this path more than six years ago, nursing has become not just my profession, but my passion. This choice has enabled me to grow both professionally and personally, teaching me empathy, patience, and resilience in the face of diverse situations.

Looking back now, I wholeheartedly "thank my six-year-ago self" for the courage and intuition that led me down this remarkable life path. Nursing has not only provided me with a stable professional foundation but has also shown me the immense achievements possible through dedication and a continual strive to improve in what one does.

What is it about nursing that continues to intrigue you, or keeps you learning and “on your toes?”

What consistently captivates and motivates me in the field of nursing is its dynamic essence and inherent unpredictability. Each day on the job presents new challenges, a variety of clinical scenarios, and unique patient stories. These situations demand not only the application of medical knowledge but also the ability to adapt quickly and make decisive choices. Nursing transcends mere physical care; it involves providing emotional support to patients and their families, necessitating a tailored approach for every interaction.

Moreover, what keeps me constantly engaged is the realization that my work tangibly affects the lives and health of individuals. The ability to offer assistance, ease pain, and support patients and their families in their moments of need imbues my role with deep significance. This profound sense of purpose drives my ongoing commitment to professional growth and the enhancement of my skills.

Tell us about your specialization? Do you have hopes for specialization? What specialization are you completing at university now and how do you hope to use your education?

I am currently pursuing specialized training in anesthetic nursing and intensive care. This area of specialization opens up extensive opportunities for skill development and for deepening my understanding of advanced treatment methods for patients in critical conditions.

Moreover, this specialization enables me to comprehend the intricacies of caring for the elderly in the intensive care context. Providing care for each patient, particularly the elderly, necessitates a personalized approach and the modification of standard procedures to guarantee proper care.

Is there something unique about nursing in your country that you can share?

Polish nursing stands out among European countries for its exceptionally rapid development. Poland is one of the countries where the education system for nurses has undergone a significant transformation, emphasizing the importance of academic education. A few decades ago, becoming a licensed nurse was not linked to academic training. Today, it has become virtually the sole route for nursing education.

In recent years, Polish nurses have acquired the rights to independently carry out numerous medical procedures, issue prescriptions, and autonomously manage medications in specific circumstances. This advancement is the result of persistent efforts to broaden their professional competencies.

Where do you see yourself as a nurse leader in 10 years?

In 10 years, I envision myself as a leader in nursing, actively harnessing automation, cutting-edge technologies, and artificial intelligence to enhance patient care and boost work efficiency. My ambition extends beyond merely implementing innovative solutions; I aim to inspire and educate fellow nurses to embrace these advancements in their everyday practice.

I aspire to contribute to the transformations that will render healthcare more accessible, personalized, and effective, leveraging the potential of modern technologies.

What is your advice to nursing students who are just entering their studies / nurses who are just entering the industry?

For nursing students and newly minted nurses stepping into their professional journey, here are some tips to help kick-start their careers:

  • Embrace continuous learning: The fields of medicine and healthcare evolve swiftly, highlighting the importance of remaining open to acquiring new skills continuously.

  • Cultivate both soft and hard skills: Proficiencies such as communication, empathy, stress management, and teamwork are as crucial as your medical knowledge.

  • Pursue mentorship: Engaging with experienced nurses within a cohesive team can greatly enhance your professional growth.

  • Engage actively in your professional community: Join professional organizations, attend conferences, workshops, and courses. Make comparisons between the operations and organization of your unit and others.

  • Strike a balance between work and personal life: Nursing is a demanding profession that can be a source of stress. Ensure you allocate time for relaxation and personal well-being.

How did you learn about the QSNA and what prompted you to apply?

I first became aware of the competition during my studies, through a meeting with Paulina Pergoł-Metko, the winner of a previous QSNA edition. Years later, the competition caught my attention again online, where I explored its themes in depth.

I realized that my idea aligned perfectly with the competition’s focus on promoting innovative solutions in elderly care and dementia support. The chance to share my idea on a broader scale and persuade a wide audience of its potential to enhance education and improve the quality of life for dementia patients inspired me to apply.

How do you think we can get more nurses excited to work with dementia care?

To encourage more nurses to pursue careers in dementia care, it’s crucial to emphasize this specialty as a field rich with opportunities for personal growth. Achieving this involves:

  • Hosting workshops and training focused on the essential skills and knowledge for effective dementia care.

  • Highlighting the successes and positive experiences in working with dementia patients, such as through case studies or discussions with field experts.

  • Offering support and mentorship to nurses keen on specializing in dementia care, including opportunities for career development and advancement.

  • Stressing the significant role nurses have in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with dementia and the positive impact they can make on the experiences of patients and their families.

By increasing awareness of both the challenges and the profound satisfaction that comes from working with dementia patients, we can inspire more nurses to specialize in this area, ultimately improving care for this patient group.

Summarize your winning idea in a sentence and please let us know why you think this is important to share with the international nursing community?

My winning concept focuses on the integration of artificial intelligence with medical manikins, enabling healthcare professionals to practice interactions with patients, particularly elderly individuals afflicted with dementia.

Will you be bringing your winning idea further, i.e. to market or to development?

Absolutely, yes. Since presenting my idea to the Queen Silvia Nursing Award committee, my concept has significantly evolved, and I am fully committed to continuing its development. Currently, my educational manikin goes beyond enabling verbal communication; it is also capable, in its testing phase, of observing its surroundings and making relevant comments. Visual stimuli often "trigger memories from the past," a crucial aspect for patients with dementia who have a stronger recall of earlier times. This feature allows nurses and students to engage in more meaningful conversations, significantly enhancing the simulation's quality.

The substantial interest my project has garnered from my peers, the media, and nursing field experts speaks volumes about its potential for wider adoption.


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