(Continued from Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010)
4) Confidence is so important! When your patient is scared and uncertain, the last thing they need to worry about is if the nurse knows what he or she is doing. Even an oxygen tube can be scary if the person adjusting it fidgets too much or mumbles “This just doesn’t seem right.” There is no shame in asking for help.
5) I know I mentioned compassion in #1, but I’m going to put it as #5, too. I had a bad car accident many years ago in which I peeled off the top part of my scalp as my head rammed into the dash board. I was attached to a gurney and left in the hallway of the ER for about 45 minutes alone. I lost about ¼ of my blood and was scared and in shock. Needless to say, I was a mess. When I found out my parents were on their way to the hospital, I had to ask three different nurses for a towel so I could try to clean up some of my blood off my face and hands. I was forgotten by the first two and the third came back a long while later. I have never felt as helpless as the times that I have been in the hospital. Doctors occasionally scurry in and out, but it’s the nurses that truly care for the hurting.
6) Be the patient’s advocate. You have so much power over the healing process of each patient. The doctor drifts in and out, but you are the one that truly knows the patient. Also, you are the one that can mediate between overbearing family members who stay too long or suck the energy from the patient.
As I write this, I am realizing that I never really understood the personal side of nursing. Of course we all think of the immense knowledge that one needs to have to do well in the medical field, but attitude of the heart and mind need to be fine tuned as well. It is a balance of education, compassion and confidence that makes a great nurse.