When I first started in nursing, I had a patient that had a tracheostomy tube in, but he was not on a ventilator. He would cough so hard that he would cough up thick mucous blood clots several times throughout the day, which caused difficulty breathing. Occasionally, the clots would hit the mirror on the other side of the bed. I reported this to his pulmonologist, hematologist, and cardiologist. They didn’t think it was a matter of concern and thought I was overreacting. I was a new nurse fresh from college. I had no credibility at the time, so nothing was done about the patient’s coughing. Then one day when I was assessing him, he started coughing so hard and nonstop, but instead of something coming up, he started turning blue and grabbed at his throat. He couldn’t breath in or out; something was lodged in his tracheal tube. I called a code, because I knew what normal looked like, and that was not normal. I needed help. The respiratory therapist came in and tried to suction, but it didn’t work. She had to cut the cuff off of his tracheal tube and pull the tube out. She bagged him through the hole in his throat until more help arrived.
I believe in a good education, because if I wasn’t trained in the science of nursing to know what was normal, so I could identify what was abnormal, my patient could have died or had brain damage from lack of oxygen. My education was full of science classes including philosophy, anatomy and physiology, theory, and research to name a few. These helped me think critically in a crisis situation.
I believe in studying to my fullest ability, because my education and my ability will be able to save lives — especially during crisis situations. I realized that I received much more than an education. I received skills, knowledge, and judgment that I use to help my patient.
I believe that nursing education needs to include science, philosophy, theory, and research to help us make better-educated judgments that can be explained with rationales.
I believe I, as a nurse, made a difference because I received a unique education that allowed me to deal with the whole patient — not just the diagnosis. I was able to see the whole person and all of his problems. I was able to identify a problem that became life threatening, and help find a solution.