After seven years as a pediatric oncology nurse at AdventHealth for Children, Delaney Postma recently took her first role away from the bedside. During that time, she had been encouraged to pursue the traditional nursing promotions – charge nurse to assistant nurse manager to nurse manager – but that path never felt right to her.
“The normal promotion track was not what I wanted,” she said. “I was drawn to innovation and research in nursing, so I gravitated to the Shared Leadership Council at AdventHealth for Children.”
The Shared Leadership Council at AHFC, established in 2008, aims to empower nurses’ decision-making control over their nursing practice. Nurses apply to join, and serve for at least a year. During their time on the council, nurses identify problems, which then get filtered to the appropriate council subcommittee. This subcommittee of nurses then investigates and uncovers a solution, to improve the experience for patients and the nurses providing direct patient care. In addition to her nursing duties, Delaney served on several committees and even became chairperson for two committees.
“We did several projects that were good for nurses and patients,” Delaney said. “It’s gratifying to be a part of Shared Leadership. You see the impact from the patients’ and the nurses’ sides.”
One of the Shared Leadership projects Delaney worked on was investigating the product QueaseEASE, an essential oil packet to help reduce nausea. Many of Delaney’s pediatric patients experienced severe nausea and vomiting from their chemotherapy treatments.
“Within pediatrics, we only have a few medications that we can give to battle nausea, and they have significant side effects like extreme drowsiness,” she said. “The medications put the patients at a high risk of falling, and they get disoriented.”
Delaney explained that traditional medications require a doctor’s order, which can delay care, which is difficult especially when a child is in acute distress.
This is where QueaseEASE became an option. Because it is an essential oil, it does not require a physician’s order for a nurse to administer. QueaseEASE was validated and fully implemented through the Shared Leadership process for nurses to use whenever a patient needs it.
“It was a gratifying outcome because it empowers nurses to have the ability to take action immediately to help a suffering patient,” she said.
After working on several Shared Leadership projects, Delaney was confident she had found her passion.
Through The Ohio State University’s online program, she earned a master’s degree in health care innovation in May 2021.
Delaney was willing to pay for this additional education, but after participating in a career development event at work, she learned that AdventHealth would help.
“I was going to use my savings,” she recalled. “When I found out I could get assistance, that was the icing on the cake. It helped me a lot.”
After completing the online program, Delaney is still figuring out the next step in her AdventHealth career. Health care innovation is such a new field, she said, that finding the right role can take time.
“Working with pediatric cancer patients can take an emotional toll,” she said. “They are amazing and resilient kids, but I’m not sure I could do that for my entire career.”
Currently, Delaney is training other nurses on AdventHealth’s new Epic electronic medical records system. But thanks to access to leadership education and tuition assistance, she’ll be ready for whatever comes next.
To learn more about AdventHealth’s resources to enable your career growth as a future or current team member, including Debt-Free Educational Assistance options, please visit Benefits (adventhealth.com) or Team Member Central - Home (sharepoint.com)