2009 Winning Essay
Imperial Valley College
As a nursing student, I already understand that I am responsible for the lives of every patient under my care. I also understand that every patient in the hospital is there because they are ill and not at their best. As a nurse, my job will be to provide the most capable and compassionate care to each of my patients.
As the United States is facing a nursing shortage, I can provide the best quality care to patients by proficiently planning patient care and using co-workers as a team. Teamwork can improve the continuity of care and create open communication on the floor, which is vital for patient safety, current patient status, and in decreasing staff exhaustion that could lead to “burn out”. Teamwork must be apparent starting with the nursing staff, continuing to the doctor, and then, to the nursing assistants. This will ensure the best quality of care for the patient. Ardis Bush stated in the video, “Nobody made me become a nurse. It’s my choice, and because it’s my choice, I expect to do my very best to take care of the patients that I serve.” In the video, Ardis was participating in patient care, even in her position as clinical manager. I believe this is a very important aspect of teamwork and this type of teamwork will be vital with the ongoing nursing shortage.
I must remember that my goal is to make patients feel their best and become healthy enough to return to life outside the hospital. The documentary, “A Nurse I Am,” helped me to remember that I cannot give patients medication and treatments in a mechanical fashion. A nurse is responsible for healing the entire person. What good is a healthy body without a sound mind? Bob Wilkinson, the pediatric oncology nurse, truly inspired me with his dedication to his job. “ I fight for quality of life every day.” I find his dedication, to the patient and family unit as a whole, inspiring. He takes time to build rapport with his patient and with the patient’s family. This is a vital part of nursing which allows for trust, understanding and communication. Without understanding the patient as a whole, a nurse cannot holistically care for all the patient’s needs. Bob said it best, “Without that personal understanding, I think you get lost in the machines and the beeps and the clicks.”
A huge factor that will help meet the needs of patients in a nursing shortage is education. As evidenced in the documentary by Mona Counts and Ardis Bush, educating patients on healthy habits, energy conservation, breathing exercises and nutrition will create patients competent in their own care and also open lines of communication. Ardis focuses on patient education, ensuring that patients are empowered through knowledge. It is important to educate the patients in a way that they understand so they are able to apply the information in their own lives. It is also important to ensure you understand the patient as a whole and are certain they are able to be compliant with the recommended instructions both physically, mentally, and socioeconomically.
With the ongoing nursing shortage, nurses are going to have eclectic job titles. An important aspect in ensuring nurses are comfortable with so many responsibilities is good mentoring and adequate training in the workplace. I will be strong in the fundamentals of patient care, i.e., the nursing process, so I am able to plan adequately for the increased number of patients. Nurses should also lead by example. Therefore, I will promote what I teach to my patients, i.e., healthy diets, and regular exercise.
Nursing is a lifestyle: Nursing encompasses the best the world has to offer. As a nurse, I will be able to improve my patient’s quality of life, and be there for them in their time of need. Nursing is truly what you make it and I choose to be a nurse therefore, I will be the best nurse I can be. I will continue to improve myself through education and exercise to ensure that I am most capable to care for my patients. Patients are people with lives and families. My job is to make sure they can continue with quality of life.