November 3, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Nurses are the cornerstone of patient care and recovery. While physicians may treat the disease, it is nurses who evaluate, tend to and coordinate not just patients’ medical needs but also their emotional well-being and family interactions too. With so much at stake, it is important for nurses not to settle for mediocrity on the job. In a profession such as nursing, success is measured by the number of patients who leave your care healthy, happy and singing your praises, so aim to be the best nurse you could ever be and success will follow automatically.
Empathy is one of the most fundamental qualities that every nurse should possess. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings and react to them appropriately. This quality lies at the core of any care-giving role especially for nurses. As a nurse, a huge part of your job would be to help patients share their feelings, talk to them and help patients overcome their distress so as to pave the way for successful treatment. To be able to do this effectively, you have to be empathetic.
Excellent communication skills are another crucial trait for any nurse. As a nurse you will care for and interact with patients of a wide range of ages, cultural backgrounds and specific requirements or disabilities. You need to be able to communicate with every patient while also trying to understand how their different cultural backgrounds influence their actions and the decisions they make. You also need to be able to convey all relevant patient details to the doctor in charge as well as other medical professionals who may be involved in the treatment of a particular patient.
Nursing can get very challenging in this aspect. It’s not uncommon for nurses to get personally attached to their patients, especially on younger wards and those who are admitted for long-term care. This can often affect your critical thinking process, as your decisions may be influenced by your emotions. Another major downside to getting emotionally attached to a patient is that you could be unduly affected if the patient suffers a bad outcome. It can be stressful and depressing and can ultimately affect you professionally as well as personally. As a nurse it is absolutely imperative that you learn to control your emotions so it does not affect your work. You need to accept that this is an unavoidable part of the job. Focusing on your successes and the patients who you have helped get better instead of the ones you’ve lost is integral to being able to carry on doing your job professionally without being clouded by emotion.