PATCH ONE: Developing Professional Identity
Nursing is a profession that helps individuals and the community in dealing with existing challenges using available resources. A nurse works in a supportive environment by learning the diverse needs of people and communities and being an advocate for the people he or she serves. This is a profession that requires hard work and passion in order for someone to make a difference in other people’s lives. This is why the profession was considered to be feminine because women have more ability of listening to the problems affecting people and communities. However, due to the shortage of nurses that has been experienced throughout the world, the number of male nurses has increased over the recent past. I was initially motivated to take up the nursing profession after seeing the sufferings of my neighbours. I thought of a way of helping them out of their problems and realised one of the ways of serving the community was through being a nurse.
The nursing profession compares with other healthcare professions in provision of healthcare services to individuals and communities. Some of these professions are doctors profession. Both nurses and doctors are primarily involved in delivery of care to patients. However, while doctors specialise in one area of care provision, nurses have the knowledge and skill to take care of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of patients. This means that nurses’ interaction with patients can be more satisfying for the patients.
The interaction between service users and doctors and nurses is one in which the patients understand that the nurses and doctors have the knowledge and skills that can help improve the patient’s wellbeing and health. They therefore participate actively in telling the nurse their problems thereby also actively participate in looking for solutions to the problems. This information makes me feel very satisfied because I believe that we will work together with the clients to achieve a common goal of improving their lives. Nurses work with individuals and communities in different care environments to provide many services including mental care, intensive care and adult care nursing.
Doctors monitor their patients and prescribe medications to the patients. Doctors determine how the patient is to be diagnosed. However, as a nurse I believe that I play an important role in monitoring the treatment to be administered to the patient. In addition, I can help the doctor to take patient history and perform diagnostic tests. However, doctors do not have the skills of performing nursing functions. This shows that as a nurse, I play an important role in improving the overall health of the patients.
The other good thing I found about nursing which is not existent among doctors is that nurses are more involved in advocacy. They advocate for better living and environment conditions for the patients so that disease predisposing factors can be eliminated from the environments in which people are living in. One thing I like about nursing is that I will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to detect abuse and advocate for provision of services. In addition, nurses are taught on person-centred care where the patient is at the centre of care delivery. The person-centred approach helps in improving the health of patients because patients make their own health choices in consultation with nurses and other healthcare professionals.
My opinions on nursing have developed by watching and reading different problems that have afflicted people in communities. For example, there are many social issues like substance abuse, violence and crime, prostitution, mental health and family problems that have been highlighted in both print and electronic media. My family views have also played a role in shaping my opinions. I come from a religious family setup where we consider people to be equal and would want people to experience the best in the world. However, due to inequalities that exist in the world, this cannot be possible. I therefore expect that people should be satisfied with the lives that they lead. This is why I chose the nursing career to help create a difference in people’s lives so that they may experience the satisfaction and consider their lives worth living.
Personally, I have read a lot about the nursing and medical profession. I have also interacted with different people from these professions. I have come to note that leadership and performance is very important for success in nursing. A mediocre or average nurse will not achieve a lot in improving the lives of the communities. Naturally, I am a leader and I believe that I will be able to get things done very well once I start the profession. The leadership skills would have been limited had I taken another profession. Nursing also requires reporting to seniors but nurses are a little bit more empowered to make their own independent decisions while in the field. This especially happens when nurses have to advice individuals and communities on how they can improve their lifestyles so that their wellbeing is improved.
It is important to note that all the professions involve exposure to others. However, personal motivation and the results of the exposure are the things creating a difference between nursing and other professions. To me, there is a lot of satisfaction that I will obtain through my interaction. This is because having grown in an environment where I have witnessed the suffering of others, I would like to create a difference in other people’s lives. Nursing will therefore provide me the platform of creating the much needed difference to ensure that individuals and communities live sustainable lifestyles. I will use my nursing skills to help advice the communities on the proper lifestyles that they can choose so that their individual and community health is improved. In addition, I will use my advocacy skills to ensure that the social determinants of health are reduced within the communities. This will help in improving the wellbeing of the community that I will be serving.
PATCH 2: Service User Voice
The health and social services have clients who come for these services. The clients come from different walks of life and have different expectations of the delivery system. As a service user, I mostly have the expectation that I will be healed from the condition I am suffering from. This is because the professionals working in the system have the knowledge and skills to handle the situations that I present to them. I also expect to get support and empathy from health and social services professionals who will be attending to me. However, in some instances this is not the case as some of the healthcare professionals have treated me rudely and have not answered my questions correctly. Due to my personality, I normally let go of these and just say that probably it is because they are stressed and burned out due to too much work that’s why they cannot talk to me well. However, there is an experience that I have seen where one of the service users beat up one nurse. His was a mental case that I learnt was brought about by a divorce that he did not expect. After admission to the psychiatric section, he wanted his bed moved to our ward. During the interaction with the nurse, he did not feel that the nurse was handling him well. He tempers flared and he ended up showing violence on the nurse. This incident was reported to the hospital administrator. I was later discharged from the facility.
There are some instances that as a service user, I feel that I may not be able to provide quality healthcare for my family. This is based on the high costs of healthcare services. In other cases, I have visited a facility while one of my relatives was sick. This facility was busy and there was a significant wait time. This wait time negatively affected the patient’s situation and he later died after admission to the wards. This made us think of the different ways in which we can improve the healthcare delivery system. One of the things that we thought of was to reduce the wait times and increase the number of nurses.
There is another situation where I was sick and admitted in one of the private facilities. The doctors and nursing staff there attended to me well. I received my drugs on time and the interaction with the nursing staff made me have the positivity in life. After I was discharged, I asked myself what the difference between private and public healthcare system was. I realised that the public healthcare system could not deliver to expectations due to the number of people who use public facilities. This creates a strain in this healthcare system causing stress and burnout to the healthcare professionals. While interacting with some people, we noted that the government should do more to bridge the difference gap between private and public healthcare systems. This will help improve the satisfaction of the service users and reduce incidences where nursing and other staff experience violence from patients.
PATCH 3: Collaborative Working
Nursing profession is quite involving and demanding in terms of time and alertness. In my placement in one of the hospital, I realized that nursing care is involved in every department. Nurses are the only health professional who interacts with all other professionals within the health institution (Reeves, at el 2013). I found out that service of a nurse is essential in and outside the hospital. When the nurse is serving patients in health centres, then you will find in the community interacting with people. They facilitate community health and social work programs. In order to perform their duties, these professionals alter their roles depending with environment in which the service is required. This is one of the interesting yet challenging attribute of a nurse.
Within the hospital, nurses have wide range of duties. There are those who specialize in particular area such as gynecological nurse or Radiology nurse. However, that does not mean she cannot work in other departments (Reeves, et al 2013). I observed some working in different departments at different times. During this period, I started by working in general ward. My main duty was to assist other qualified nurses to deliver nursing care to patients. During this time, I frequently interacted with other health professionals who would come to look at patients. They included general practitioners, Occupation therapists, and gynecologists among others. After sometimes, I got an opportunity to work in radiology and imaging department. I learned to work with radiologists and other imaging technologists. Such rotation continued until I went through all departments including maternity. I realized that I had to alter my roles in order to suit in different environments within the hospital.
In the course of interaction with different health professionals and patients in hospital setting, I had to improve in various areas. I discovered that to be efficient, professional nurse required to have effective inter-personal and communication skills. Working together with other people in both hospital and community requires efficiency in communication (Anonson, et al 2014). Most duties call for enquiring and passing information to various professionals, patients and other stakeholders. This indicates that I have a duty to develop communications skills, both oral and writing. It plays a critical role in delivering quality healthcare service to patients as well as fostering inter-professional collaboration (McCormack, et al 2013).
In communication, nurses interact more frequent with patients than any other health professional. Handling patients from different backgrounds requires one to be persistent in learning (Cameron, 2011). I had to learn how to address elderly people, which was a challenge to me. I realized that communicating with them is quite different from when you communicate with young patients. They need a lot of patient since most of them may not speak fluently due to their health complications. Others may take time to get what nurses and other health workers communicate. Due to these technicalities, other health professionals entrust nurses with responsibility of handling patients (Reason, & Bradbury, 2013). Nurse becomes a mouthpiece for doctors to the patient. On the other hand, he or she becomes patient’s mouthpiece to a doctor. For instance, the nurse tells the doctor how the patient is feeling. In case the doctor want to communicate something to the patient, the nurse’s involvement is essential.
Inter-professional collaboration requires effective communication. Since the nurse is the main contact person when it comes to getting patient’s information, other professionals rely on what nurses tell them. Whenever they discuss matters pertaining patient’s condition, nurses provide vital information (Hamric, et al 2013). She plays an essential role in diagnosing the patient and assisting other professionals to understand patient’s needs. Nurses communicate patient’s progress to different specialists by writing medical reports (Anonson, et al 2014). They also communicate orally especially during inter-professional exercise. I realized that as a nurse, I have to improve my report writing skills since it is core part of nurses’ responsibility. Communicating orally to different health and social professionals was also a major challenge to me. However, other qualified nurses present always played great role in communicating on my behalf. I had a good platform for learning communication in inter-disciplinary practice.
Inter-personal skill is the key factor in nursing career. Nurses interact with health professionals, patients and other interested parties. In palliative and patient-centred care, nurses interact with family members and informal care givers. Before the patient is discharged, nurses engage family members in order to inform them how to take care of recovering patient (Cameron, 2011 & Hamric, et al 2013). They get advice on how to feed him as well as other aspects of care depending on patient’s need. In this case, I had an opportunity to learn how to relate with various people include informal care givers. Such interaction is a vital aspect of healthcare service since care givers rely on the information to know how to handle the patient at home. During my stay in job placement, I noticed that nurses also receive feedback from caregivers and family on the progress of a patient. This happens when the patient attends regular out-patient appointment for health assessment and follow-up (McCormack, et al 2013). Therefore, interpersonal and communication skills are vital aspects in nursing profession.
Going through placement was a significant opportunity that shaped my career. I had a chance of learning through careful observation as well as performing some tasks. Under the supervision of professional nurse, I was able to meet the expectation and objective of the exercise. I realized that being a nurse is more of a calling than just a profession. Besides professional skills and competencies, professional nurses are patient and empathetic. They are able to understand the feelings of patients and to help them go through hospitalization period successfully. I strive to develop the same aspects to enable me deliver high quality healthcare to patients in future. I also intend to apply the skills I acquired during the placement in community-based health programs. In doing this, I will be gaining more exposure to real-life situations. The experience will enhance my preparedness to develop professional and soft skills relevant in nursing career. Sharing the experience with my colleagues in college and also exchanging information will enhance further learning. It will facilitate acquisition of more knowledge that relate to my nursing discipline.
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