As I have stated before in my previous blogs, nursing is not for the faint of heart. It takes a special person to be a successful nurse and to be an effective one. One has to really be willing to deliver a high quality of care to a wide variety of patients as it is mostly in our hands, as nurses, where patient’s lives and their optimum well-being relies upon.
Reality is, we spend more time with patients more than doctors and other health care discipline does. It is through the kindness of our hearts and genuine care and concern where patients and their families mostly relies on. Most of the time, we are the first ones to see them as they entered the hospital, hear or see them cry or moan, learn of their stories and what brought them to the hospital.
We are their life line when they are very sick. We comfort them and advocate for them when they are unable to for themselves or if there’s no one there to represent or speaks for them.
What Are The Traits and Skills That Sets Nurses Apart
- Being caring and compassionate.
- Empathetic. Knowing or understanding how to put oneself into another person’s shoe.
- Being gentle and careful. Dealing with sick patients who are vulnerable and are in a lot of discomfort takes gentleness as it hurts more when they realized that the nurse assigned to them for 12 hours is rough. That’ll add anxiety and stress to the patient.
- Has good communication skills.
- Possesses excellent critical care of thinking and skills.
- A good advocate.
- Detail oriented. It is important to pay closer attention to minute details in patient’s complaints, histories etc as they can be very important in leading the way to their proper diagnosis and treatment.
- A good leader. We as nurses manages our patient’s care. We lead the way most of the time as we spend more time with them. Doctors give us orders but with our keenness to details, caring attitude, proper training and experiences we can foresee what kind of treatment and management we can seek from the doctors.
- Giving. Nurses are the most giving individuals I have met (aside of course from mothers) as we are willing to skip our lunches, control our bladder and go home late for the sake of our patients.
- Prioritization and multi tasker. Without these skills our busy and hectic days won’t be managed smoothly. And even though they said multi tasking is not good, we just have to do it as we have endless tasks.
- Educators. Patient education is part of our most important tasks as patients and families needs to be knowledgeable as they would eventually go home and be in charged of their own care and health.
- A team member. Let’s face it, in nursing if one is not a good team member chances are that person is not going to last as it is not easy to work with no one to consult with, brainstorm with or assist her/him with heavy lifting etc.
- Tough stomach. We don’t lose our appetite over a foul smell or by the sight of fecal matter, sputum, blood etc.
- Being tough. The truth is, in this profession bullying is still predominant.
Situation. This Falls Under Care, Compassion And Critical Thinking
One night, patient’s blood pressure was dropping. Patient just had a Stroke and in the acute phase of stroke, patient’s blood pressure can’t be dropping or else patient’s blood flow to the brain is reduced which can cause more damage. I called the Nurse Practitioner covering for the Attending Physician to get the order for an IV fluid to bring the blood pressure up. On the phone the Nurse Practitioner was rude and panicking. She was blaming me because I gave pain medicine to the patient an hour ago due to back pain. She was assuming that the pain medicine lowered the patient’s blood pressure.
Knowing the risk that the patient is facing, I had to hurry and hang up the phone as the NP was taking those precious time that patient could have been getting the treatment. Luckily we have a Neuro Resident on the floor, so I knocked at her room and asked for the order and got the IV fluid running in no time which prevented patient’s blood pressure from dropping thus patient’s life was saved.
Patient’s lives and wellness is our responsibility and first concern. For whatever needs to be discussed, that could wait later. First things should have been to check and assess the patient then apply the first line of treatment as time is of the essence.
Second Situation. Empathy, Caring and Compassion
Mrs. Smith (not her real name) was admitted to the hospital with severe urinary tract infection and infected wound in her sacral area. She came from a Nursing Home and has no family. She has a severe decubitus ulcer on her sacral area which was infected. Mrs. Smith has Alzheimer’s disease and has leg contractures which probably contributed to her condition.
Due to her condition I asked another nurse for assistance in changing her wound dressing and also for re positioning the patient. As soon as the other nurse saw and smelled the patient’s wound, she made a face and stated something that was demeaning.
Not because the patient has a disease that limits her to understand and respond well would we have to treat them unfairly. Just like anybody else they have to be treated just and with care and compassion.
Third Situation. Proof That Nurses Are Tough as Senior Nurses Eat Their Young/Bullying
A night charge nurse who is known for being indolent and indifferent, assigned a new nurse, heavier loads compare to her and the other nurses. Right at the beginning of the shift, the new nurse’s two patients were already not doing good. One patient’s blood sugar was dropping and the other one became critical due to a severe infection.
It was obvious that the new nurse needs assistance but the charge nurse instead of helping, was sitting at the desk chatting with the manager. It was hard to decipher what the charge nurse and the manager were thinking but luckily the other newer and some morning nurses that hasn’t left the unit yet helped the young nurse.
With the first situation about the Nurse Practitioner, she was written up and was placed back on orientation or training as she can endanger a patient. The nurse on the second situation, eventually got fired as she was a bully too. So her bad behavior caught up with her. As for the charge nurse and the manager, they are still working in that hospital.
These stories are examples of untoward behaviors and situations. Unfortunately just like other professions there are those bad apples that can disheartened the good ones. But fortunately, I still believe that there are more good nurses and caring ones.
So, do you have what it takes to be a nurse? If you have experienced any disheartening situations, please share them. For questions and comments you can leave them down below.