I believe that, as a nurse, we should not only treat the disease process but more importantly, the person behind that disease process. As nursing students, we are taught how to administer medications, insert catheters, bathe immobile patients, and even suction tracheostomies. Although those things are very important to know and understand within nursing practice, perhaps the most important concept we learn is holistic care. Understanding that there is a patient behind every procedure is one of the most valuable lessons we have the opportunity to learn.
In preparing for clinical, the paperwork is monstrous. What we sometimes can forget, is that somewhere among the piles of paperwork is a real person who is someone’s mother, father, daughter, or son. I have come to the conclusion that we can know everything there is to know about a disease process through research, and still lack in patient care, if our concentration is on treating the disease. Treating the disease is the simpler aspect of patient care utilizing medications and diagnostic testing. Where the true challenge lies, is within the heart of the patient and the patient’s family and whether or not our care as their nurses have made some impact in their lives.
Within my experience, both in nursing school and elsewhere, the sometimes meaningless gestures and actions have the greatest impact on an individual’s life. No matter how many procedures are done for a client, the gesture with the most impact might be a smile on our faces or joining them in watching a television program. It is the simple things that we can do as nurses and individuals to truly provide holistic care to every patient such as, saying hello when passing them in the hall and giving hugs to those who need it. Taking time to listen to the questions and concerns of the patient can greatly impact their lives and, the way they might live it after leaving the healthcare facility. This can be just as important as any medication given.
Mastering procedures is quite important is providing competent care, but engaging in human contact, both emotionally and physically, can be much more beneficial for patients in the long run. They may not remember the IV that we started for them, but they will remember our smiles and willingness to listen to their expressions and, provide the utmost holistic care. I believe that we as nurses should not only treat the disease, but the person. In doing so, we are bettering the patient’s life in all aspects.
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