‘To make a difference to someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich or beautiful. You just have to care’.
With care being its essence, nursing extends further than just treating patients, it is about genuinely wanting to make them as happy and comfortable as possible in their difficult times. And this is why I opted for a career in nursing, which allows me to help others and make contributions to our society that is in a desperate need of healing.
My philosophy of nursing focuses on delivering a safe, holistic and person-centred approach to care that is appropriately sensitive and individualised to the needs and wishes of individuals and their families. As nurses, we should remember that every patient is made up of stories which define who they are as a person and as a patient within a healthcare setting. Therefore, adaptability, flexibility, sensitivity and comprehensible communication skills are essential to individualise and deliver optimum health outcomes. Patients should be treated with dignity and respect by being actively engaged in decision-making process of treatment and planning of care, rather than being known as bed numbers, situations or conditions they are suffering from. All aspects of patients’ wellbeing should be considered – physical, emotional and spiritual – and responded equitably and appropriately, especially in culturally and linguistically diverse hospital environments. Furthermore, effective collaboration with other healthcare professionals is also key to achieve optimum patient outcomes.
Another emphasis on qualities of nursing in my philosophy is that nurses should demonstrate good knowledge and professional behaviours with excellence, equity and sustainability, participate in care giving with enthusiasm, resilience, empathy and passion for the benefits they can make. These values all point to what makes an advocate and compassionate nurse: commitment. Only when nurses feel committed to their jobs, they are able to advocate for their patients. This is shown via good attitude when receiving feedbacks, engaging in reflective activities on a daily basis and continual of personal and professional development of oneself. Nurses should actively seek and engage in various experiences to explore different roles, take initiatives and responsibilities when practicing within their scope of practice, uphold legal, ethical and honourable professional standards and promote health equity.
These qualities lie the foundation for me to keep improving myself to develop a therapeutic and professional nursing career.
The Register Nurse Standards for Practice provides a framework of practice and expectations for Register Nurses (RNs), within which ‘Standard 2: Engages in therapeutic and professional relationships’ is my main focus for my preparation for my next clinical placement. This standard provides an insight into establishment of mutual trust and respect in a nurse-patient relationship via effective communication, collaboration with other members in healthcare teams, advocating for patients on their behalf via demonstrating respect to patients’ autonomy and legal capacities, and promoting cultural safety and ethical practice to deliver the best achievable health outcomes.
Open communication should be facilitated between nurses and patients, as well as between nurses and other healthcare professionals, to promote thorough understandings of individual patient’s plan of care and treatment. Being an effective communicator is essential as nurses are in a position of delivering direct care to patients, therefore they are advocates on patients’ behalf to communicate their individual needs and interests to other healthcare team members. Similarly, nurses are expected to clarify any misunderstandings, confusion or concerns from patients in relation to care or treatments they are receiving, not only to facilitate therapeutic and professional relationships, but also to promote patient safety. However, nurses should not go beyond their professional boundaries and be aware of any boundary violations regarding to developing rapport with patients.
During my clinical placement, as a student nurse, I feel responsible for demonstrating key features of effective communication, including:
– Introduction of myself (including name and designation) to patients and other healthcare professionals in the team.
– Politely and respectfully address of others.
– Demonstration of active listening, with clarification of misunderstandings and evaluations, practice using various communication strategies to optimise patient rapport and understanding.
– Practice of giving handovers following the ISBAR with my facilitator and seeking for feedbacks
– Maintenance of patients’ confidentiality and privacy.
– Respect of patients’ own values, beliefs, dignity, culture, rights and their autonomy in decision-making process, not imposing my own beliefs and values on them and recognising patients are expert in their personal lives.
– Being culturally and linguistically sensitive and aware of individual backgrounds.
Effective communication with other healthcare team members is also equally essential to promote the flow and sharing of knowledge and create a healthy working environment. It is important to remember that patient safety always comes first and a collaborative approach to deliver this should be demonstrated.
On my next clinical placement, I need to make sure that a supportive, respectful and collaborative attitude should be developed towards my facilitator, other fellow nursing students, my RN supervisor and other healthcare professionals on the ward. Furthermore, I should pay more attention to appropriate time and place to ask questions (when the nurse supervisor is not too busy and willing to answer my questions).
Nurses are in positions of advocates for patients, therefore, they are expected to identify, explain and resolve any conflicts between practitioner’s approach and plan of treatment and patients/families wishes or interests. As a student nurse, if being able to identify any conflicts or dissatisfaction, I would make sure my nurse supervisor is informed, so that a person-centred care is approached by making necessary adjustments to treatment and plan of care. Furthermore, if there is any misconduct on the ward, I would make sure to consult my facilitator and my nurse supervisor.
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