Sept. 24, 2019

Never underestimate your impact as a nurse, says UCalgary Nursing alumnus in Australia

50 Faces of Nursing: Wesley Radulski, BN’82

Wes Radulski was just a junior on the nursing school circuit when he had an experience that would shape his career. A patient with Crohn’s disease had passed away under the care of his team, forcing a distressed Radulski to address a hard reality through a still-thin skin.

I was quite upset, and as we discussed our feelings over the loss of life, my instructor, Hati Shea, taught me that it was OK to be upset about the things we experience," he says.

That experience became a life lesson Radulski carried with him into the emergency room, where he witnessed first-hand how trauma and abuse can impact families and staff. And later, that life lesson became a practical and emotional tool.

“I was able to implement a trauma team that included calling a team member to provide support to family and staff during and following the incident. Since moving to more administrative roles, I have brought along that level of emotional awareness to the teams I have worked with.”

Radulski is now a regional general manager of a hospital group in Melbourne, Australia.

My passion is working with teams and empowering them to be able to provide the best service they can. I also believe in making all the team members, regardless of the role they play, understand how important each member is to a positive outcome.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing or changes coming in the profession?

“I think nurses will play an increasing role in improving the health of patients through ongoing assessment and education. Nurses who are clinical nurse specialists and educators will play an important role, and research carried out by nurses will lead to those changes."

Is there a nursing issue you are especially passionate about or would like to change?

“The role of the nurse varies across the discipline and the location (city versus rural versus different country). In emergency departments, I felt nurses were an integral part of the team and our assessment and treatment skills were valued, but I have not seen that in all areas of practice.

“As professionals we need to continue to ensure that, regardless of the area we practice in, our skills are valuable and valued by the other members of the team and our clients. We are not "just" nurses. More than 35 years after my own graduation, I still see areas where our nursing skills and knowledge are not as valued as they should be.”

What advice would you like to share with aspiring nurses?

“For me, my nursing education has been the vehicle that has allowed me to work in a variety of disciplines and locations.”

“I know bedside nursing has changed and perhaps become more difficult as budgets shrink and ratios increase, but never underestimate the impact you have on the people you care for or the team you are part of or manage.”

“I encountered a family member of a man we cared for several years earlier, and to my surprise she remembered me and the care her husband received. I didn't remember the details of the case, (a trauma) but the care she and her husband received made a lasting impression that she never forgot. That taught me that, regardless of the situation, we need to be aware of the impact we have on the patient, their family and friends. It may not always be easy but it is important to treat your patients the same as you would like to be treated.”

Is there one luxury in life you would rather not live without?

“I think the luxury I would most hate to lose would be the ability to travel and learn about other countries, cultures and people, and of course the food.”

Wesley Radulski, BN’82, is one of the 50 Faces of Nursing at the University of Calgary, Nursing Faculty

Wes and Barb Radulski

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. If you know someone noteworthy (faculty, staff, alum, students, partners, etc.) who you would like us to feature, tell us more with this short online form. For more, visit nursing.ucalgary.ca/50