Text: Bertrand Tappy
Photo: Gilles Weber

Tandem in the intensive care unit

In the intensive care unit, Eva Favre and Anne Fishman join forces to advance patient care practices.

For the first time in this section of “In Vivo”, we are featuring two colleagues who share the same profession and work at the same hospital unit. Eva Favre is a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and Anne Fishman is the head nurse with the intensive care unit.

The duo deserves our attention as they symbolise the fundamental transformation at work in nursing since 2011. The University Institute of Training and Research in Patient Care in Lausanne, created four years ago, released its first graduating class of specialist nursing clinical practitioners with a Master of Science in Nursing Sciences onto the French-speaking Swiss market.

“These specialised nurses offer care for patients with complex needs,” Favre says.

“In addition to our clinical role, which remains our focus, we also take on an advisory role for the teams in the unit. That means we have to try to go by results published in scientific literature, bring theory in line with real-life situations and actively participate in clinical projects. We’re real agents of change in the healthcare system.”

Eva Favre completed her Master’s degree in 2013 and was immediately hired as a CNS with the Service of Adult Intensive Medicine at Lausanne University Hospital. That is when she began gradually integrating into the service. The guidance from management played a key role
for her during this phase. Anne Fishman agrees, “Eva brought the team advanced expertise that was complementary to our own, but no one knew exactly
what her role would be as she was the first CNS we had.
My responsibility was to initiate a constructive process with the medical and nursing team to make sure that Eva could most effectively apply her strengths to what we do.”

The CNS adds, “the new aspect was incorporating the scientific culture into the already very specialised expertise that my intensive care nursing colleagues had. And like any cultural change,” she says, “it can’t happen on its own, or in a few days. We start by getting to know each other, developing a common language, gaining trust and achieving success together!”

Ms Favre chiefly intervenes in complex situations. “Patients that remain in intensive care for an extended period are a real challenge, mainly because their stay involves decisions that are not only sensitive but must also factor in a huge amount of information and issues,” Fishman says. “A CNS can drive other nursing staff members in providing key information used to take these decisions when all the disciplines are brought together.” In a final note, Eva Favre adds, “Through their training and by working closely with those who benefit from the care as well as their loved ones, these nurses are excellent patient experts. Updating their practices, by drawing on solid fundamentals, makes their contribution for patients even more crucial, and science has a lot of answers to bring to their questions!”⁄