I believe nursing is more than taking care of someone’s healthcare needs. Ask anyone what they think a nurse is and they will say anything from the person who does the work that the Dr. takes credit for or the person who you see the most in the hospital. I have asked around and the common thread is that nurses are noticed in the healthcare profession by the patients and families. When I decided to go into nursing, it wasn’t about the money or even the flexible schedule. The truth is, I didn’t want to be a nurse. I have grown up with my mother who has been a nurse for fifteen years and I was in grade school when she became a nurse. I know what nurses do and I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse and spend my days getting yelled at by patients, doctors, and taking temperatures, putting catheters in people, and so on. But, as I started college to become a teacher, my dream job, something wasn’t right. I had been praying that God would just take me in the direction He desired for my life and He laid nursing on my heart and I definitely questioned this. I laughed as I said to Him, “God, are you sure?” So, luckily I was obedient and followed the path He was laying before me.
I am in my third year of nursing school and I have started doing clinical work dealing hands on with patients and families. I am realizing that the image that I had grown up with in my mind was not what nursing really is about. Nursing is about treating patients as a whole person and not a disease or an illness. It is about teaching patients and their families about their options and answering questions and concerns that they may have or addressing the fact that this 90 year old woman who lives alone is not compliant with her medications because she cannot afford them. Nursing is about problem solving and thinking deeper into a problem and not looking at just the face value. Nurses can be the ones to take a little extra time and listen with open ears to what the patient is saying to lead you to a treatment plan that is suitable for them.
My mom has always told me that her one piece of advice is that if I just listen to my patient, they will tell me what is wrong with them. It doesn’t always have to be invasive diagnostic tests and procedures. These are people, young and old, that need to be listened to. If I go to McDonald’s and place an order but the cashier doesn’t listen to me, I will end up with the wrong order or nothing at all. It is the same in nursing, if we don’t listen to the patient, we can miss the bigger picture. Anyone can learn to give a shot or start an IV, but to listen to your patient and treat them holistically goes beyond just getting your work done for the day. Take the time to listen and address the concerns of others, because I believe nursing is more than just taking care of someone else’s healthcare needs.
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