2015 Winning Essay

The 2015 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to address the following: Patients and their family members base their perceptions of the care received on their personal experience with the medical personnel they interact with. After viewing the film "A Nurse I Am":
(1) Describe how the nurses in the film build a positive rapport with patients and their family members; and
(2) How will you ensure that you provide those you care for with a positive healthcare experience?

Megan O'Rourke

Olivet Nazarene University

The nurses in "A Nurse I Am" were able to build very positive rapport with the patients under their care by understanding the unique role they play as the personal contact between a complex medical system and the patients being treated. This role requires compassion, communication skills, technical skills, and a dedication to the patient.

I think it goes without saying that a dedicated nurse needs to have a sense of compassion for their patients, but these nurses showed much more than empathy towards their patients' suffering -
they understand the anxiety a patient and family members feel by not comprehending their illness and what may be involved in their treatment. Everything that is required to care for them, from questionnaires and test, to complex medical care, can overwhelm the patient. These nurses helped to alleviate that fear and make the patient feel that they are cared about with compassion, dignity and respect - not just seen as a medical case.

Skillful communication is probably these nurses' greatest asset. It starts with their ability to converse with the patient in a way that makes them feel at ease with the nurse. These nurses went beyond the medical questionnaire to find out about the "person": who they are, where they come from, what they understand about their illness, their needs, and their level of ability to be involved in their own care.

These nurses also were able to communicate complex medical information to the patient and family in a level of comfort and comprehension that they could understand. They spoke with confidence in the information they gave to the patient, even when they did not have all the answers. They also were able to communicate the patient's needs, concerns and medical issues, back to the various doctors, specialist and other nurses involved in the patients care.

These nurses' communication skills developed from experience, but also out of their desire to excel in their technical ability as a medical professional. They understood the need to stay current on medical innovations and care practices. They were always willing to seek out answers from their fellow nurses or other medical professionals when they had a question on a procedure or medicine. They realized that a high technical proficiency as a nurse meant better hands-on care for a sick patient.

Dedication for these nurses is more than a sense of professionalism, but a calling to their life's work. Their education, professional experience, personal and spiritual relationships, and a deep concern for others are part of this calling to be a Nurse.

The ability to gain a positive rapport with my patient is not something I feel I can learn from books or lab studies. For myself, as a current nursing student, I feel it is so important to see nurses like the ones in the films, as mentors�to glean from their experiences. I work hard to excel in my studies but learning from the personal experiences of seasoned nurses and instructors is invaluable.

Learning to listen with sensitivity and interest in all my relationships, personal to professional, is extremely important - both for acquiring needed information and for gaining trust. I need to take every opportunity as a student nurse to practice and fine-tune this skill. Opting for the class "Spanish for Healthcare Professionals", to improved my cross language communication skill is just one example.

Like the nurses in the films, I need to be dedicated to my nursing education, my peers, and instructors, to gain the skills required to give complete holistic care. Learning to be a dedicated professional will help me treat the entire person and see needs that they may not be able to verbalize for themselves.

It was interesting to see how important that faith was to the nurses - helping them be strong for their patients, serving them with love and dignity. I have always loved biology and science but more than anything, I have longed to answer a calling to help those in need with the skills I will learn and abilities I have been gifted. My faith has helped me see the value in every person no matter what their circumstance may be. This will help me establish a nurse-patient relationship and to build trust, allowing the patient feel comfortable to openly communicate.

Lastly, I need always to approach my education, the challenges before me and the goals I have set for myself with a positive attitude, dedicated to becoming the best "Nurse I will be" for those in my care.

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