Working in the surgical ward entails numerous responsibilities for a health care practitioner like me. Thinking about the holistic care, recovery of patients and minimising any complications from occurring are a few of those responsibilities that a surgical nurse always has to keep in mind. According to Anthony Lee (2007), whether it is abdominal surgery, plastic surgery, or any other invasive surgical treatment, it is dangerous to assume 100% safety. He also stressed that due to the miracles that surgery gives, people might often tend to forget the risks and complications that go with it.
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One of these risks commonly associated with surgery is the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis in the postoperative phase. “In the absence of thromboprophylaxis, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a significant risk for surgical patients especially those undergoing orthopaedic surgery and lengthy procedures” (ICS 2002, SIGN 2002, Geerts et al 2004, ICS 2006, NICE 2007). This fact gave me the interest of choosing DVT prevention as my topic for the presentation so as to make me and the listeners more knowledgeable about DVT risk assessment & prevention thus eradicating this complication from occurring.
This essay points out a reflection about the 15-minute seminar presentation that I completed within the course of my study. Utilising the Gibbs (1988) reflective model, I would be sharing my learning and feelings based on the whole experience.
During the first meeting with our programme tutors, we were orientated to prepare a 15-minute presentation of any topic related to our whole adaptation experience which would particularly focus on evidence-based practice. This would assess not only our knowledge and mastery of the chosen topic but it would also assess our communication and presentational skills. Based on the assignment given, I made a research about evidence based practice to guide me in choosing my topic. As cited by Sackett, et al (1996), “evidence based practice is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research”. Based on these findings, I carried on with my quest for an interesting topic.Â
Within the week, I was able to take care of a patient who was admitted for suspected deep vein thrombosis when he stopped wearing his antiembolic stockings. His wife had difficulty putting them on his legs. He was my patient the previous month when he had a total hip replacement done. This patient made me realise how important antiembolic stockings are and made me interested about DVT. Thus, I finally decided to present about the prevention of DVT in surgical patients.
In preparation for the upcoming presentation day, I started my research by checking the internet for any information regarding DVT and its prevention. There were so much information from different sources and reading on these different sources made the topic confusing for me. So, I started searching for an article from journals that would be perfect for my presentation and which I could focus on. I found an article from the ” Journal of Perioperative Practice” and based my presentation on that article. I organised my presentation, added more relevant information from different sources, and made a structured powerpoint presentation based from the researches made. I also added pictures & colourful designs to make my visual aids creative. I studied on my topic and did a lot of practice days before the final day to make me more confident.
The awaited presentation day finally came. To boost my confidence and impress the viewers, I was all dressed up to look smart. I was so nervous while waiting for my turn to present especially that it was quite a long time ago that I have had presentations like this. I was also a bit worried that the time allotted for my presentation would not be enough for me because I made it as comprehensive as possible. I was also planning to give a short exercise for the viewers to gain interaction from them.
When it was my turn to speak up, the confidence came out and the nervousness faded. I was able to explain the whole topic thoroughly without any difficulty and the 15 minutes went so quickly. I was able to attract attention from the viewers by making the presentation as lively as possible and gaining interaction from them through exchange of ideas. At the end of the presentation, I was also able to assess their understanding of the topic by conducting a short exercise about DVT risk assessment. My presentation went smoothly and before I knew it, it came to an end. I really enjoyed being on stage much more than the whole preparation phase.
After everyone presented their topics, our assessors gave us their evaluation about our performances. The assessor gave me very good feedback regarding my overall performance. I was so surprised that he gave me the highest possible grade in all the criteria. I was informed that I had very good communication & interaction skills and that I mastered my topic really well. I was so happy with feedback from my assessor and from my fellow classmates as well. I can never believe that I have that much confidence in me and that I was able to nail the presentation. One comment that I could possibly give about my presentation is the fact that I made it so comprehensive that the 15 minutes was not enough for me to really explain some of the topics well. I asked for an extension of the time given so as I could finish the exercise.
This experience made me prove to myself that I am able to attain my goals with perseverance and belief in myself. I gained so much learning and realisations from the whole experience and these after effects are what’s most important to make me a better person and a better professional. As defined, learning could be thought of as ‘a process by which behaviour changes as a result of experience’ (Maples and Webster 1980 quoted in Merriam and Caffarella 1991: 124). I am hoping that this experience would make me change my behaviour to be more confident when interacting with other people.
The entire experience was an excellent way of gaining knowledge about evidence based practice. But, it was not focused on the reinforcement of our knowledge alone but on the enhancement of our communication and interaction skills. I can say that I gave my best to deliver a good presentation but still, there is always a room for improvement. I can say that the topic that I covered was too long to fit in a 15 minute presentation and because of that, I was rushing to finish all my slides within the allotted time. So, the next time I would do another presentation, I have realised that I should simplify the topics and practice more beforehand to know if the allotted time is enough for the whole presentation.
With this activity, I have gained much learning and had improved my presentational skills. In the future, I would expect to be more confident in doing presentations and be able to anticipate the tasks that need to be done beforehand. I would spend more time in preparation for the activity to gain more confidence and to prevent any difficulties from occurring.
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