2014 Winning Essay

2014 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: Each of the nurses in the film A Nurse I Am was united in their complete care for the patients they served and went above and beyond the call of duty. As a nurse, you may be tempted to take shortcuts in patient care to meet demands and complete your workload - sometimes at the expense of patient-centered care. In light of the increased demands and workload that you may face as a nurse, how will you overcome the temptation to become goal-focused instead of patient-focused? What steps can you take as a student to help prevent this mentality and to view each patient as an individual worthy of your best work as a nurse?

Megan Cahill

Portland Community College

In the ever-changing field of healthcare nurses are required to be highly adaptable, demonstrate perseverance for excellence, and not rest on the knowledge from yesterday but be able to adjust to the changes of tomorrow. With these great responsibilities also comes incredible stress and demand on nurses to complete their daily workload, often at the expense of providing the best patient care. The film “A Nurse I Am” exemplifies healthcare professionals that hold themselves to a great standard of proficiency for their patients, viewing their clients as valuable individuals worthy of quality care and not as an affliction or a task to complete. In light of this video my mission for my future nursing career is to never stop learning and to never be satisfied with my current level of expertise, but to continue improving my comprehension and apply these skills to help others. To take a holistic approach and see my patients for whom they are as people physically, emotionally, and spiritually, not just for their symptoms.

To carry out this conviction in my practice I will first seek to build rapport with each patient I encounter. By connecting with the patient on a personal level they are no longer an assignment or assessment to be done, they are another human being filled with quality and worth that is in need of care. As nurse manager Ardis Bush states, “Nursing is not just a job, you can’t just treat the diagnosis, you have to treat the whole person.” When the patient feels respected and at ease in my care they will trust me and value my opinion in their healthcare decisions. Building this kind of mutual respect allows the patient to share what their needs and desires are. Nurse Practitioner Mona Counts states, “If you listen very carefully they’ll tell you what’s wrong and what they need.” It is in these moments of therapeutic communication and listening that nurses gain insight into what the patient deems as important and what their recovery goals are. By building more substantial connections with patients my nursing practice will not only be patient-focused, but I will also be cognizant of the patient’s wishes and standards for their care, ultimately helping them achieve their healthcare goals.

As a student nurse I am constantly learning, observing, and processing information, often drawing focus to the patient’s diagnosis, disease pathophysiology, or the pharmacology of their medications. In order to achieve a holistic and patient-centered approach to nursing care it’s imperative to delve deeper than merely medications,charting, and vital signs. Nurse Bob Wilkinson explains the needs of patients aptly when he states, “You have to give them touch, confidence in your voice, and sincerity, you gotta give them hope.” Nursing is much more than someone carrying out the physician’s orders, it’s a soft and reassuring confidence at the bedside and an unspoken reminder of unconditional compassion for another in need. In resetting my frame of mind past simply the tasks of nursing I will discover my patients are much more than a diagnosis, prescription, or treatment plan, they are a mother, a friend, or a brother and that is the aspect of the person to focus on healing. As stated eloquently by physician “Patch” Adams, a man deeply dedicated to building patient relationships, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” My ability to attain this perspective as a student nurse and walk beside patients in their most critical time of need will transfer into my future as a clinical nurse enabling me to see each patient individually and worthy of my best care and attention.

Nurses are invited into a patient’s life during their most vulnerable time to provide a sense of security, confidence, and hope. It holds true and valuable meaning to possess the skills necessary that improve the health and quality of life for those entrusted into nurses’ care. While it’s tempting to slip into a mindset of goal-focused care, nurses have a valuable gift not to be neglected with shortcuts or haste from an increased workload. As a nurse I will employ the mindset of patient-focused care by respecting the esteemed position I have worked so hard to achieve and reflect this onto my patients in the form of gratitude, compassion, and empathy. To give any less than our best work is to sacrifice the remarkable gift we’ve been given as nurses.

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