Nursing – Knowledge, Distribution & Innovation

Nursing - Michael HavensBlog post by Colin Hung

This week on #hcldr we are honoured to have a few special guests from the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders @CCHL_CCLS:

  • Alexandra Harris, RN, CHE, MN/MHSc, PhD(c), University of Toronto – @AlexHarrisRN
  • Sandy Wilson, RN, BSc, Team Manager, WRHA Home Care Program – @WRHASandy
  • Kathleen Klaasen, RN, MN, GNC(c), Clinical Nurse Specialist, WRHA Home Care Program – @wrhakathleen

Together we will be discussing a very important healthcare topic – #nursing.

Nurses play so many different roles in healthcare. They are care navigators, patient advocates, human pagers, consoling friends and they are one of the most important sources of knowledge within healthcare organizations. This internalized knowledge, referred to in this paper by Alexandra Harris as Nursing Intellectual Capital (NIC), is vital to the smooth and effective delivery of care.

NIC is a relatively new concept and one that I hadn’t heard of until CCHL approached us with their proposal for this upcoming #hcldr tweetchat. As I read the background material, I began to realize how overlooked this aspect of “healthcare tribal knowledge” really was.

Nurses always seem to find a way to get things done, despite a system that often works against them. No matter how late at night or how severe the situation they manage to pull a rabbit out of the hat. I remember from my own experience how a nurse managed to get my father a private room during his final few hours despite the fact the hospital was 100% full just 10min before. Amazing.

At the recent Beryl Institute Patient Experience conference #PX2016, keynote speaker Montel Williams @Montel_Williams put the spotlight on the impending nursing shortage in healthcare. One particularly haunting statement from Mr. Williams really struck a chord with me: “You better enjoy the way our healthcare system is right now because when we look back 10 years from now we’ll see that this was the time when we had great healthcare” (paraphrased). Yikes!


With an aging population that will demand more from the healthcare system, we may soon be facing a distribution problem where the number of available nurses may not geographically match our population. This will be especially true in rural areas. To address this new models/approaches to care and new technologies will be needed. In the article “From primary nurse to collaborative nursing care team: Early feedback on a new model“, Kathleen Klaasen and the other authors conclude that nurses in a home-care setting will need to:

  1. Share their caseload of clients with other care givers;
  2. Hold regular meetings to review and problem-solve around client care plans with reference to the most current information and tools available to inform clinical practice;
  3. Coordinate and collaborate with other home care professionals

Join us for the weekly #hcldr tweetchat on Tuesday May 10th at 8:30pm EDT (for your local time click here) when we will discuss the following nursing related topics with special guests @AlexHarrisRN, @WRHASandy@wrhakathleen and @CCHL_CCLS:

  • T1 What types of nursing intellectual capital (knowledge in people, structures and relationships) need to be leveraged more in healthcare?
  • T2 What kinds of work environments enable nurses to work to their full capacity/scope?
  • T3 Should the distribution of nurses in rural areas be based on geography?
  • T4 How can health leaders support innovation by and for nurses?


“Join us for Healthcare Management Forum’s first tweetchat”, Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders, May 2 2016,, accessed May 4 2016

“Nursing to achieve organizational performance: Consider the role of nursing intellectual capital”, Alexandra Harris, Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders, 2016,, accessed May 4 2016

“From primary nurse to collaborative nursing care team: Early feedback on a new model”, Kathleen Klaasen et al, Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders, 2016,, accessed May 4 2016

“The U.S. Is Running Out of Nurses”, Rebecca Grant, The Atlantic, February 3 2016,, accessed May 4 2016

“The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education”, Health Resources and Services Administration, April 2013,, accessed May 4 2016

“Why is there a healthcare workforce shortage problem in rural areas?”, Rural Health Information Hub,, accessed May 4 2016

Image Credit

Nursing – Michael Havens



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