Wayne Fritz - Nurse Educator, ICU

Written by Kyra Stewart

Wayne Fritz, nurse educator, ICU, is originally from South Australia. He started nursing in 1994, eventually going into medical nursing and then specializing in intensive care at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. After participating in a critical care program there he became a flight nurse around Australia. By 2002 he was ready for a career change and decided to make the move to Canada. He was offered a job in Edmonton, but after checking the weather from his sunny home on the other side of the world he decided against Alberta. British Columbia, on the other hand, seemed doable. Wayne got a job at St. Paul’s Hospital and in 2003 he moved to Vancouver. Home to the very first ICU in Canada, PHC’s intensive care program is equipped to care for BC’s most critically ill patients. Wayne has been in the position of nurse educator for two years now—supporting nurses and helping them get the information that they need.

A typical day:

“I’m into the unit around 7 a.m. and begin by checking in with the night duty staff. After catching up on some emails I’m ready to go for 7:30. I have a strict open door policy, people stop in and ask questions and I’m here Monday to Friday.”

Wayne does an exceptional job of organizing and supporting his unit, and then returns home to his two dogs, Joshua and Lita.

Challenges and motivations that come with working in the ICU:

“One of the biggest challenges is getting my own work done and having to say no to people. It’s difficult to meet deadlines when you’re supporting so many people and are their main resource in getting important information.

“Everyone at St. Paul’s is so willing to help and share their knowledge. Getting to meet so many people and build a bank of resources keeps me motivated.”

Changes in ICU nursing practice:

“When I started in Australia nurses had to do more than here in Canada, in the sense that they didn’t have respiratory therapists. This was a big adjustment for me and I think I got myself in trouble a couple of times. The way that we care for patients has basically stayed the same, but technologies have advanced. Where people would have died before, they now live longer.”

Spare time:

“I really enjoy yoga, although I haven’t done it in a while. Despite the fact that I have a fear of heights, I actually take aerial silk and trampoline classes at the Vancouver Circus School once or twice a week. I started silks when I was 40, and can now comfortably hang 18 feet in the air by my hands. Even though you think you can’t, you really can.”

Wayne is in the process of organizing a circus teambuilding activity for the staff in the ICU. He has absolutely no background in gymnastics or dance!

Last book you read:

“It’s been a while since I’ve been able to pick up a book and read it for my own enjoyment, but Holding the Man is my all time favourite. It’s an Australian book that I brought over with me, and I highly recommend it.”

Favourite part about your job:

“Helping and educating people, seeing them grow as new nurses, and just appreciating the self growth that happens within me.”

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