Sarah @ New Thing Nurse (NTN): I have had the pleasure of knowing you through the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) for some time, but can you introduce yourself to our New Thing Nurse readers?
Joop Breuer (JB): My name is Joop Breuer, an ER nurse from the Netherlands. I started nursing school way back (for some in the prehistoric years) in 1976 and graduated in 1980. After that, I did a year military service and after that, started training as an ICU nurse. Worked on different ICU`s for 9 years but after these 9 years, I was kind of “finished” with ICU.
During the summer, I was asked as an ICU nurse to do a 6-weeksrotation in the ER. They were experiencing staffing shortages. After 2 shifts in the ER, I knew: “THIS IS IT.” I immediately applied and got hired. I did my CEN and have been working on the ED ever since. And I still Love my job.
I am now working in Leiden in the Netherlands (a beautiful town by the way, birthplace of RembrandTt) at Leiden University Medical Centre, a level 1 trauma centre about 20 miles south of Amsterdam. I am married, no kids.. living just outside Leiden, close to the beach.
NTN: I love hearing about other nurse's professional journeys. How did you fall into nursing? And what area of nursing did you start in and where do you work now?
JB: During high school I didn`t know what to do after graduation. My older brother was working as a nurse, and I thought: “Well why not? Why not try nursing?” And I loved it. Nursing is such a rewarding profession.
NTN: The focus of New Thing Nurse is supporting nurses as they find their "new thing." As an ENA member, you were an early advocate of the Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) process and course when it came to the Netherlands for the first time. What was your experience like in helping introduce such a new process to the Netherlands emergency medical community?
JB: In 1995 TNCC was brought to the Netherlands, by instigation of the Dutch Equivalent of ENA. I was one of the first to take the course (given by British Nurses), and I was stunned by it, how well this program worked. In the Netherlands you cannot apply to become an instructor, you are asked… and I got the honour of being asked. I still am an active TNCC instructor, Course Director, and since 2008, responsible for all TNCC matters in my country.
NTN: What helped you motivate you to take on such a large project as your "new thing"?
JB: I still am convinced TNCC is the best program for nurses around. And I always feel so proud when after a course, candidates say that they really learned something to be used in day to day practice.
NTN: Do you have any tips for anyone out there who might be considering jumping into a "new thing" of their own?
JB: If you start a new thing on your own, be well prepared, read about it, and share your excitement with others.
NTN: I love nursing professional organizations. You are very involved with the Emergency Nursing Association (ENA). What can you tell our readers about ENA, and how it has enhanced your nursing career? What is your current role in ENA?
JB: ENA is by far the biggest organization for ER nurses worldwide. This is reflected in all ENA has to offer to its members: education, research, grants, etc. Having been to an ENA conference, I was impressed by its member - their commitment and professionalism.
Over the years, I have become more involved in ENA in different positions and many, many members have become dear personal friends. Being a member of ENA has brought me many good things and being part of such committed group of nurses makes me very proud.
NTN: As an ER nurse in the Netherlands who is also very familiar with the United States' approach to emergency nursing, what are things that you find similar? What aspects do you find different?
JB: Similar to the US as in the Netherlands, ER nursing is a strenuous job. But also a job once you are infected with it.. you will love it for the rest of your life. Problems facing ER nurses in both countries are quite similar: staff shortages, boarding patients, increasing age of nursing staff, aggression of patients to name a few.
What is different I think is the working hours - we don`t do 12 hour shifts at our ED. In the ICU, they do. We as ER nurses also don`t have any techs around. We do our own respiratory, circulatory and also plasters etc. We also do not care about insurance in the Netherlands… everybody gets treated. Our healthcare system is quite different than in the US.
NTN: You have told me that in addition to being a nurse educator at your ER, you still frequently work as a night shift Charge Nurse too. What keeps you at the bedside in addition to your Educator role?
JB: The combination of charge/stretcherside nurse and nurse educator is very important to me. I couldn`t imagine a job where I wasn`t working “stretcherside”. It also gives me a lot of valuable input which I use in my educator job.
NTN: Do you have any "new things' on the horizon? New Thing Nurse wants to know!
JB: I am running (again) in this year’s ENA Board of Directors election. I want to be elected as a member of the Board of Directors of our organization.
Currently I am a member of ENA’s Position Statement Committee. After publishing the position statement on the use of social media by ER nurses, (I was the lead author on that one), I am excited that the joint ENA and the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) position statement on human trafficking is nearly finished. Together with a Forensic Nurse, Diane Daber from IAFN, I am the lead author of this one as well.
NTN: How can our readers find out more about you and your work?
JB: You can find me on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
I also published 2 articles in the Journal of Emergency Nursing (JEN): one in the September 2013 issue called: “Working Together, Training Together,” and one in the July 2015 issue called: “Going Dutch, Emergency Nursing in the Netherlands”
NTN: Do you have any other advice for our New Thing Nurse Blog readers?
JB: Always use your critical thinking skills, stay curious, always ask yourself - “Why?” and I always say to my students: “BE the nurse you would want to take care of your loved ones”