Today I had breakfast, with a dear friend, of over 35 years this morning. We laughed and talked like it had been just yesterday since we had been together – this time it had been over 4 years – the time before it was 10 years since we had sat in person and talked.
As we sipped coffee, she detailed a story of her mother having surgery in 2007 that not only upset the family but scared them with the type of nursing care she had received. After having several issues with her health that lead to back surgery the post care had to be handled with kid gloves.
Anyone going for surgery is already nervous about laying their life in the hands of Doctors, nurses, and a hospital. You lay helpless on a table that will be making changes to your body. Listening to someone who had an experience that scared them post surgery as much as pre-surgery makes me stop and think "What kind of care am I giving to the ones that trust me".
What is the secret ingredients that make a seasoned nurse beyond good but great?
As a mental health nurse I deal with patient's emotions and behaviors that sometimes lead to physical situations. When a new nurse arrives on the unit – everyone is watching that person to see what the reaction will be to a high risk situation.
- A seasoned nurse is calmer they don't question what needs to be done – they just step into action. It flows out of them without thinking. A younger nurse will sometimes freeze or back up waiting for someone – anyone to step in to take over.
- A seasoned nurse handles stress and can remain calm (at least until the event is over)
It is not that they have become numb to stress or have become heartless, they go into nurse mode caring for those that are in need at the time and will take a deep breath later.
- A seasoned nurse has learned a way of communication that is firm, and to the point, she says what she means and means what she says. She has to speak to doctors, patients, fellow co-worker, and family members.
- Avocation for her patients. When the nurse sees her patient in danger – or a doctor is making a decision that is not best for that patient the seasoned nurse stands up and speaks for the patient – and wins a lot more battles than the new nurse does and calmly.
- Education in the class room and on the floor continues to teach all nurses. The nurse never stops learning or teaching others.
- Seasoned nurses are active leaders. They know how to handle situations that arrive, management, doctors, patients, and taking care of themselves to avoid burnout.
- The secret ingredient to becoming not a good nurse – not an ok nurse – but a great nurse …. Is time. Of course there is always an exception to every rule but the most part. Time teaches nurses to become the role model for the next generation.
As a nurse, I have spent taking care of others I have cried with my patients – laughed with them – stood firm with redirection – had physical altercations – Belly laughed so hard I cried – encouraged – prayed with them – listened – and learned. I hope I never stop learning as a nurse.
In the course of your day you hear peoples life stories. As a nurse in mental health that is the biggest part of my shift – listening. If I don't listen, I could miss a piece of the puzzle.
Every nurse has a story to tell. Are you sharing yours?
Are you a nursing lifer? Share your advice in the comments below!
Angela Brooks has worked in a state-funded psychiatric hospital in Kentucky for 21 years as a nurse, assisting sometimes-dangerous patients who come in shackled and cuffed. At AngelaBrook.com, she offers stories of life on the inside of a psychiatric ward, and the site, as well as her company, offers support for nurses in the mental health field and helps them bring passion into their role at work.
On her BlogTalkRadio show, Mental Happiness with Angela Brooks, she shares some of her experiences “learning to love those others have forsaken” and gives tips on how to bring peace to your own life.
Everyday we share insights, strategies and even some of our biggest secrets to nurse entrepreneurs on our Facebook page! Join the fun and connect with like-minded business owners and Nurses EVERY single day! Click here and "become friends" with Angela's NOW!
* Please note: I am not here to CURE, DIAGNOSE, Treat or suggest replacements for what a doctor prescribes. The names used in this post are not the real names of the people being mentioned – I am sharing my nursing adventures with you.
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