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An Inside Scoop into the Nursing Field: An Interview with Barbara Olas

Barbara Olas in a patient ward
Barbara Olas in a patient ward

Barbara Olas is a telemetry nurse from Toronto, Ontario and the face behind the many study guides who help up and coming nurses. With the goal of inspiring and educating nursing students, read our Q and A with her for her thoughts on the impact of technology in the medical field.

What inspired you to get into the nursing field?

I’ve always found the human body very interesting. The fact that we can create human life, have our wounds heal on their own, build an immune response to a specific virus, etc. still blows my mind. We are such a perfectly created species. I always knew I’d be involved in the medical field for this reason.

My volunteer and work experience as a personal support worker when I was younger was what drove me to the nursing field. The relationships I built with patients – seeing them for multiple hours a day, meeting their families, watching them progress health-wise – was what pushed me to the direction of nursing. 

Your guides like Pharmacology Study Guide and NCLEX Study Guide aid many students in studying. How does it feel to be such an influence in the healthcare education community?

I am extremely happy to provide these guides to students! I know how demanding nursing school is firsthand. Hundreds of pages of reading, early mornings at clinical, late nights studying for the 3 exams in 1 week, stacks of pharmacology cue cards – it get overwhelming really quick. My goal was to somehow make a student’s life slightly easier. The response I’ve received regarding the study guides has been incredible, so I’m very happy to know my goal was met!

In what ways do you think health technology has influenced our healthcare sector?

In what ways hasn’t it influenced the healthcare sector?! So much of what we do in the hospital has been made 10x more efficient (and safer for the patient) because of health tech. Medication dispensing machines, point of contact ultrasound, bedside cardiac monitors, and so many more tech pieces have ensured that healthcare is efficient, accurate, and safe. During this pandemic, there have been a lot of virtual visiting appointments where families have been able to see and talk to their loved ones in the hospital – this has made things somewhat more normal for family members, which I’m happy about.

Being a telemetry nurse, how does innovative medical technology aid patient monitoring and rapid response to patient status?

Everything from notifying a doctor and processing STAT orders to recording a telemetry strip and organizing a transfer to the ICU post-code blue is made quick & easy thanks to medical tech. I genuinely don’t want to know how much more difficult these tasks would be without the technology.

What are some tips you would want to give aspiring nurses or doctors?

There are going to be several uphill battles throughout school and your first year on the job. Keep up the hard work and remain determined – once things click you’ll feel on top of the world. There’s nothing better than helping a sick patient improve while also fully understanding the science behind everything going on. 

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