Personal reflection on becoming a nurse
Just last year I started on my journey to becoming a nurse. I want to be a nurse because I feel like it was one of the most rewarding careers a person can hold. There are many different areas of nursing that I can choose to pursue. My goal after graduating with a BS in nursing from College is to practice for a year and then try to enroll in a nurse anesthetist program. There are many different definitions of what a nurse really is. Some go by a formal definition of the practice but others believe it is much more personable then that. My health coach for the term will be , I feel like we work well together and he can really help me accomplish some of my heath goals that I created after completing my self assessment. As a nurse one needs to have high-level wellness so they can perform well at the job. Stress is a key factor that needs to be controlled. Nurses are put under a tremendous amount of stress and being able to control that stress is key in a nurse’s career.
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A Look at the Nursing Profession
Ever since I was very little my mom has been taking care of me. As a nurse she had so much passion for taking care of people. I do not think my mother ever turned down someone who was in need of her services. I still remember to this day, family members from both sides of the family calling my mom when they felt ill or had some kind of injury. She loved helping people and people loved being helped by her. I feel like a person is born with the characteristics of becoming a great nurse. It is that want to help a person which is what makes someone a great nurse. I want to be a nurse because like my mother I love to help people and to just be around people in general. I do not think anything is more rewarding then helping someone in crisis. Most people become so appreciative of your services because as a nurse you really are putting someone else before yourself and that person you are helping becomes so appreciative of you for doing that. However sometimes patients that you will have will not be as appreciative of your services as others and that is when as a nurse one needs to reflect on how even though they might not have appreciated you now, sooner later they will realize what you as a nurse has done for them. That is why I choose nursing as a career I want to pursue.
I want to be a Registered Nurse (RN) rather than any other healthcare profession because I feel like as an RN there are just so many options for what you can do. An RN can choose to work with the elderly or children or people in critical condition. The possibilities are endless and I also like the general responsibilities that all nurses have compared to other health care personnel. I am choosing to get a Bachelors of Science Degree (BS) because I actually want to become a nurse anesthetist but first I need to obtain a BS and then practice for a year in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before I can go back to school. By obtaining my BS I can then be better prepared for when I take my National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test to become a licensed nurse. Without my BS I would not be able to do well on the test.
There are many different areas of nursing which is what makes nursing such a unique field because there are so many different paths one can pursue. People think nursing is just a basic profession but it really is not. After deciding I wanted to be a nurse I decided to look into the different fields I could to take part in. I narrowed it down to two different areas of nursing. The first area I wanted to specialize in was becoming a critical care nurse. When I was in high school I shadowed a nurse and one day she took me to the Intensive Care Unit floor. I really liked all the energy and intensity that the unit had to offer. The second area of nursing I was thinking about specializing in was anesthesiology which is the field that I have made my final decision to specialize in. In high school I did a project on becoming a nurse anesthetist and I was very interested in it. I learned about all the careers responsibilities that it entailed along with the many other aspects of the career. I even had the privilege of shadowing a nurse anesthetist where I learned first hand what the job had to offer.
As a nurse anesthetist I feel that some of my strengths include the want to help people. Obviously as a nurse you need to want to help people improve their health. You need to put yourself second when helping these people and get your patient through probably some of the most difficult times in their lives. I also think as a nurse you need to be outgoing and friendly and I feel I possess both of those qualities. I love to be around people and I feel like I can really comfort people when it is most needed. Finally I feel my final strength is the fact that I have some basic knowledge of what the job entails from my shadowing hours and projects that I have completed. I feel that one of my biggest liabilities is actually getting accepted into an anesthetist program after I pass my nursing exam. The anesthetists programs are very competitive and you need to have excellent grades and recommendations to become accepted into the program.
A nurse is much more than just a person whose job is to take care of the ill. A nurse is a kind person, someone who puts the patients needs first and delivers healthcare in a professional and kind way. A nurse has many responsibilities. Obviously the most well known one is just the general care for their patients. I feel like nurses now are stepping out from the doctor’s shadow. Nurses are much more respected these days and are really making a name for themselves as a whole instead of as a team with doctors and other health care workers. They are given so much more respect and responsibilities these days than they did several years ago. As a registered nurse you supply your patients with the treatment of their problem as well as educating them on how to improve their health situations. A registered nurse also participates in evaluating the patients care and designs the patients discharge plans. A registered nurse has many responsibilities which can include understanding the patients situation, administering the patient a helpful medication, and evaluating how the medication that is to be given to the patient will affect them and also predict the outcome after care is given to them. These days nurses are also involved and responsible for operating complex and new life saving equipment.
A nurse needs certain skills that are used daily in their profession. An example of this is communication skills. For a nurse to be successful they need to have excellent communication skills that include speaking and listening. Nurses need to be able to follow directions and communicate effectively with patients and their families to help them understand the treatment being given. Another trait a nurse needs to have is good attention to detail. An excellent nurse pays great attention to detail when giving treatment as well as interpreting expected goals and outcomes for the patient. Problem solving skills also need be a nurse’s expertise because they need to think quickly in certain situations and solve problems before or after they arise. One final trait a nurse needs to have is to be caring and empathetic to patients as the nurse evaluates and conducts a plan of action to solve their health problems (AllNurses.com).
To be honest before deciding to become a nurse and actually research the profession I thought of nurses almost as “cleaning” health care workers who took care of all the doctors’ dirty work. It was not until in high school when I actually did research on the topic and figured out they have so many more responsibilities then just cleaning up after patients. Also in high school I had the privilege of shadowing my mom who actually was and still is a working nurse at a local walk-in treatment center. When I shadowed my mom taking care of people and interacting with people it really put the profession in full perspective for me. I was able to see firsthand what a nurse was responsible for. Even if my mom was having a bad day she needed to act professional and act as if nothing was wrong because jobs dealing with the public like nursing you need to act professional always.
As a nursing major I feel like I need to possess some qualities that will further me in the program and in my destined career. I chose nursing because I feel like I am a hard worker and I get jobs done when they are given to me. I also consider myself a “people person.” I love being around people in all situations and love helping people. I am also a friendly person which is an important aspect of being a nurse.
I took a self assessment (see Appendix A) to identify areas of my health I need to improve. For the term my health coach is Colin Hoey. I chose Colin because we have been good friends since last year and I feel like we have many of the same interests whether it is in school or sports. We also have some of the same things to work on so I thought it was a good idea that we decided to be each other’s health coaches. After filling out the self assessment I found a few things I could work on for the term. My first goal is to wear a seat belt always in a car. Last November my friend was actually killed in a drunk driving accident because she was not wearing her seatbelt. Both the driver and the passenger who were wearing their seatbelts were fine and unharmed, however my friend was not wearing hers and when the collision occurred my friend hit her head against the window which eventually was the reason she died. So I feel like wearing my seat belt more is definitely something I want and need to work on. My second goal is to wear sunscreen with a higher SPF then 15 when outside on a sunny day. Living in the “Ocean State” of Rhode Island I am constantly at the beach and in the sun and most of the time I do not even bother putting any SPF because usually my skin does not burn. I really should start putting SPF on though because I know what can happen if you do not. If I continue to not put any SPF on I am going to get wrinkles and sun spots and my skin will become unhealthy as I age as well as being at a high risk of getting skin cancer. My final goal for the term will be to get more sleep. Being at college I am always busy with the load of work that is given to me, however I really do need to start getting more sleep so I can perform better in the classroom and learn better as well. I need to start planning out my schedule better so I can do all my work and still get a good night of sleep.
After setting these goals for myself several weeks ago I have now made some progress in accomplishing them. My first goal was to always wear my seatbelt when I was in a car. I completed that goal by just making putting on my seatbelt a habit that I kept repeating everytime I got into a car. My second goal was to wear sunscreen with a higher SPF than 15. I could not accomplish this goal since it is the winter and the sun is not strong enough to cause any damage, however I did research on the effects the sun has on the skin and learned new facts that I will keep in mind this summer to make sure I apply sunscreen with a higher SPF than 15. My last goal was to get more sleep. Over the past couple of weeks I have learned that getting enough sleep is crucial to performing well in school. I make sure I designate a certain time that I will be in bed by to make sure that I am getting enough hours of sleep and now I have a noticed a drastic change in my work habit.
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In nursing you are responsible for so much. In the article “The Impact of Stress Management on Nurse Productivity and Retention” it explains how a nurse is “working closely with deadly diseases and knowing that an accidental needle stick or body fluid splash can easily result in infection or even death.” (Milliken & Clements & Tillman, 2007, 203) So stress is obviously going to come naturally when being a nurse. The article also talks about how there is a major shortage of nurses in the world so some nurses are asked to work double shifts or to care for more patients since there is a lack of nurses in health care facilities. Because nurses have so many responsibilities, it can really take a toll on the nurse’s health and many nurses are becoming impacted by this amount of extra stress because of all the responsibilities that are involved in the profession. Facilities are now taking extra precaution when dealing with the stress involved with nursing. Certain small breaks have been given to nurses just to stretch and relax before returning to work and it seems like it is making a drastic difference in the nurse’s performance.
I personally am a stressful person. I like things to get done and when they are not done or something goes wrong I stress out. I have been working on this however because I have figured out that sometimes things go wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. When things go wrong I have learned that I need to learn how to fix them quickly rather than stress over the situation gone wrong and just give up. In the article “The Impact of Stress Management on Nurse Productivity and Retention” it talks about how as a nurse you need to be prepared for anything and everything and that is where the stress comes in. the most important lesson a nurse could learn is to relax because when someone is stressed they do not act how they usually would and if a nurse is in a certain situation where its life threatening they need to learn how to control their stress levels and figure out the situation at hand as calmly and efficiently as possible. Even though I am not that comfortable with change I have learned that change is inevitable and change needs to occur so we as nurses can keep progressing in our practice. Without change nurses would not learn how to properly take care of their patients and their methods of health care would become outdated.
Nursing is a busy career. As a nurse you are constantly moving around and under a tremendous amount of pressure, so it is hard to say that while nurses are caring for others they also need to care for themselves and make sure they have a good amount of wellness in their lives so they can perform when they are under high levels of stress (Milliken & Clements & Tillman, 2007). There are many different areas of wellness that nurses should acknowledge in order to achieve high wellness in their lives. The first is nutrition. As a nurse you should cut down foods containing fatiguing ingredients from your diet and increase the amount of foods that contain sustaining ingredients. Carbohydrates are a great food to take in for energy throughout a nurse’s day. Nurses should try to avoid drinks like coffee and tea because those drinks will cause the body to become too energized and then slowly begin to lose excessive amounts of energy. “If you eat wisely and balance the other dimensions of wellness, you’ll always have energy and won’t need stimulants” (Clark, 2006, 2).
The next dimension of high wellness is fitness (Clark, 2006). As a nurse you are constantly moving around, picking objects up and moving heavy patients or objects from different places. As a nurse you should be working out and doing aerobic activity frequently. Nurses need to be in good shape because of all the strenuous activities that they have to do that comes with the job. Also flexibility is a good thing to have when being a nurse so taking a yoga class is a good idea to increase one’s flexibility so a nurse can perform better.
The next dimension is stress management (Clark, 2006). Stress management is critical to have when becoming a nurse because of the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities a nurse has at a health care facility, especially for a nurse working in a critical care unit. For nurses to keep their stress levels down they have several options they can do. An example would be having a daily meditation period. Meditation can clear the mind and put the body at ease. Another technique is just taking a couple of minutes at work to stretch and relax. Even doing that for a minimal amount of time can make a huge difference in a nurse’s day. The most important thing for nurses to do to relieve stress is just to channel their energy in positive ways.
The last dimension of achieving high wellness for a nurse is caring (Clark, 2006). Most nurses sometimes spend too much time caring for their patients that they forget to care for themselves. Even though it may be hard for a nurse since their job basically consists of caring, nurses needs to make sure there is balance in their lives with the amount of time they care for others and for themselves. Nurses should surround themselves with people that are living a high wellness lifestyle since then they are more prone to follow their friend’s lifestyles and achieve high wellness.
When designing my coat of arms I really had to think about what a nurse is in four words. My first word was compassionate. As a nurse you need to be compassionate towards your patients and you have to like what you do because if you are a nurse and do not like your job then you are probably not going to be able to give your patients the help that they need. My second word is rewarding. Being a nurse is a rewarding career because you are constantly helping your patients get healthy again and to see that you helped someone like that on such a personal level is very rewarding. My third word is caring. I think as a nurse you need to be caring because you really are caring for people all throughout your day. My final word is responsible. As a nurse you will have many responsibilities. Nurses are basically responsible for their patient’s lives and to have the life of someone else in your hands you need to be a very responsible person.
Overall I think that I have made the right choice to become a nurse. I think that it will be a very rewarding career for me as I grow in the field and as a person. Currently I am in my second year of nursing school and I really have enjoyed it so far. I feel like at Elmira College I can really apply myself and become a great nurse. After writing this paper and doing numerous research on the assigned topics I have learned so much information about the career of nursing that I didn’t know before. Writing this paper really gave me a good idea of what the profession has to offer.
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