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Much has changed in my life since I began nursing school that has given me a new perspective on what it means to be a nurse and what to look forward to in the future as I complete my course of study. Naturally, nothing is ever easy or works out according to plan, and my nursing school experience has been filled with the unexpected, which has made the journey exciting and interesting.
When reflecting on my personal philosophy of nursing, I think about some of the nurse theorists that have had an impact on me, and the first person that comes to mind is Jean Watson and her Caring Theory. Since I come from a family of medical professionals to me, nursing always sounded like the kind of profession that fits my personality. My primary motivating goal for becoming a nurse is “I love taking care of people.” That includes my parents, my children, my relatives, and my friends. I can relate to people due to some of the obstacles I have overcome, and I believe that being an empathetic nurse is very important to the healing process.
How it works
The core concepts of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring (Watson, 2008, p. 34) include the practice of loving-kindness and being an authentic presence. I practice these techniques by always making sure that I am with the patient as a listener, and when I communicate with the patient, I look at them and use their name. In that way, I can relate my wholeness as a nurse to their specific needs. Unless there is a medical emergency, I try never to appear rushed or distracted.
I am also motivated by Watson’s healing environment approach to nursing, which offers the patient comfort and dignity while attending to all human care essentials. When people are feeling vulnerable or exposed, it is important to make sure they know that the person in charge of their care puts their needs first and makes them as comfortable as possible.
The American Nursing Association’s official principle for the nursing profession is to always respect the dignity of all patients, with special emphasis on each person’s unique attributes and the human rights of all individuals. For a nurse, that should be the number one priority in any patient interaction (ANA, 2017).
I have learned a great deal from observing other nurses. I have seen some examples of wonderful nursing and some not-such-good examples. In both cases, I have learned what to do and what not to do. When a nurse enters a patient’s room, a caring nurse approaches the patient with a smile, addresses the patient by name, and describes the treatment that will take place. The nurse asks the patient if they have any questions or concerns before starting any type of diagnostic test. Mindful gestures such as closing the door of the room and pulling the privacy curtain show the patient that the nurse will treat them with dignity and respect. I have also noted that some nurses appear hurried or stressed when approaching patients, and they do not receive the same level of cooperation. Nurses that do not connect with their patients lose the opportunity to truly care for the patient, provide reassurance, and properly educate. Nurses who truly partner with patients will find that patients become more cooperative and can assist in their own treatment. Before approaching the patient, the nurse must be calm and focused.
There are complex medical procedures that we, as nurses, are trained to perform. Perhaps the most basic service a patient needs at a vulnerable time is human contact/connection. A simple, comforting touch from a nurse, with compassion and sincerity, can alter the state of mind of the patient. Not all wounds are physical; a human connection can bring hope and faith. A nurse is an individual dedicated to comforting patients in the healing process. Nursing is more than a profession; it is a lifelong commitment, a heartfelt service of love and care.
These goals remain with me as I advance forward into the final phase of my nurse training. I will utilize my newfound insights to further gain knowledge and skill to assess and manage patients. The capability to care for patients in all forms of health, whether they are in the hospital on life support patients in emergency rooms or intensive care units ranging from infants to geriatrics. I want to be able to comfort my patients.
My goals are to continue my education and become a nurse practitioner. I have given some thought to opening a respite care center. Short-term stays provide care for a loved one who stays in a safe, comfortable room or suite. Trained staff provides care day and night and assists the patient with meals, medications, dressing, bathing, and exercise. People need not just medical care but emotional care and comfort. It takes a special set of skills to provide that to patients, and I would like to direct myself toward that goal in the future.
The desire to help others and compassion for people in need go hand in hand. The scientific part of nursing is obviously very important, but the human side maybe even more important at times, especially for patients dealing with the unknown. Having empathy for others to feel better and regain their wellness is a goal that I will always have as I become a better nurse.
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