2014 Winning Essay
Rhodes State College
Nursing is an art and a science, combining scientific method with compassionate care. From ancient times to modern day, nurses have always faced unique challenges and responsibilities. The increased demands and workloads that face nurses provide temptation to become goal-focused and not patient-focused. As a student nurse I have found that there are critical steps that I can take to help prevent this mentality. These steps include integrity, patient centered care, and collaboration.
Integrity is one of the most critical aspects of nursing care. Integrity can be expressed in both words and actions. Integrity is most effectively expressed when a nurses words match their actions. There are times when holding integrity is more difficult than others. This is especially seen in end of life issues. Sometimes it may be more comfortable for the nurse or nursing student to reassure a patient that everything will be alright, when that may not be the case. Honesty in a difficult situation allows the most therapeutic interaction with the patient. False hope may be devastating for a client and their family. It is inherent that no matter what the situation is with the patient, the nurse is always caring with integrity. This allows the patient to place their trust in the nurse and assists in forging a helping relationship between the nurse and the patient.
Collaboration is one of the greatest allies of a nurse. When a nurse utilizes collaboration they are able to work as a team builder, seamlessly coordinating care. We often forget the importance of collaboration. Units that practice collaboration have superior performance to those that do not practice collaboration as effectively. As a nursing student, it is important for me to find my place not just as a follower but also as a leader. It can sometimes be intimidating to practice collaboration. A nurse may feel as though they do not want to bother another nurse or other healthcare provider. It is important to realize that collaboration allows for the highest level of care. If a patient is in desperate need of a breathing treatment, it is important that we as nurses are able to assess this need and collaborate the treatment with respiratory therapy. This holds true with physical therapy, medicine, pharmacy, and all other healthcare team members. We must treat all team members with courtesy and respect. It is also important to include the patient as a member of the team. By allowing the patient to become a member of their own healthcare team, the patient is empowered.
As a student nurse, I have encountered numerous patients. I have had the uniquely amazing opportunity to care for patients ranging from newborn to those in the end stages of life. Each of these patients had their own unique perspective and story. As a nurse it is of the utmost importance to provide patient centered care to every patient that I encounter. In the clinical setting, I have found myself tempted to become task oriented. I understand that compassionate care means that I have to be able to give part of myself to each patient. Every patient is deserving of the greatest level of care that I am able to provide. It is important to for today’s nurses to recognize that holding a patient’s hand when they are scared may be just as important of a nursing intervention as administering prescribed antihypertensive medication. This compassionate care is patient centered. All care should be centered on the patient and their specific needs. Many times the nurse may be tempted in taking shortcuts in patient care for their own convenience. I have found whenever I feel this temptation as a student nurse, it is important for me to take a moment to reflect on the needs of the patient and to practice empathy. By empathizing with the client, the nurse is able to more effectively understand the need for patient centered care.
Nurses are the ultimate patient advocates. We are able to provide interventions that can be as simple as a smile to as complex as advanced life support. With recent increases in demands on nurses it is often a temptation to become goal-focused instead of patient-focused. Through the practice of the core values of integrity, collaboration, and patient centered care, I will be able to continue to provide high quality care to my patients. Although the demands on nurses continue to present themselves, nurses will continue to rise to face every challenge they encounter.