5 Ways To Be A Better Nurse

Only a few professions allow you to make a stable living and do meaningful work to serve humanity. Nursing happens to be on this list. This job, although extremely demanding, is also gratifying and fulfilling in the long run. 

Nurses are the backbone of a medical facility, serving doctors and patients alike. They are usually the first to greet incoming clients, hear their concerns and assist them in navigating medical facilities and complex treatment. They bridge the gap between doctors and patients with the help of seamless communication while ensuring the whole care team remains in the loop. But their duties aren’t just limited to providing healthcare. Some days, they must also be listeners, counselors, and confidants for the sake of their patient’s well-being. Indeed, nursing isn’t a profession for the faint of the heart. Instead, it is for those who intend to be a positive force of nature and help people live better lives. 

So how to become a better nurse? Whether you’re a student just setting foot into the world of nursing, or a practicing candidate looking to enhance your skills in the field, we’ve got you covered. Listed below are a few ways to grow your career and become better at your job.

Increase your education

You can unlock several new opportunities if you choose to further your education in nursing. For example, a higher degree enables you to pursue the career of a nurse practitioner. This role holds significant value in the healthcare workforce. Wondering what can a nurse practitioner specialize in? The answer may surprise you. As an NP, you can pursue any field, including cardiac, gerontology, pediatric care, family medicine, education, mental health, social work, etc. You’ll acquire the knowledge needed to manage a wide variety of illnesses, strengthen your grasp of the human anatomy, and cater to a diverse range of patients.

NPs also qualify for leadership, administrative, and management roles in medical institutions. They may work as consultants, administrators, researchers, educators, or even clinical specialists, positions that come with much higher authority and autonomy. As an NP, you no longer need the supervision of a physician. You can start an independent private practice, thus providing care on your terms to a larger population. 

Hone your communication skills

Perhaps one trait nurses must master early on to avoid significant blunders on the job is the art of effective communication. It is key to providing quality and comprehensive care, support, and guidance to physicians, patients, and other medical personnel. Through good communication, nurses must bridge the gap between doctors and patients. They must hear patients’ concerns, assess their symptoms, collect medical history, conduct basic tests, and report to a relevant physician.

So, don’t assume answers. Ask as many questions as need be. This way, you can convey the patient’s message and requirements without fail to the doctor who drafts their treatment plan. Simultaneously, you must also cater to the patient and their family, updating and educating them about the diagnosis, its consequences, and the expected recovery timeline. Good communication helps to reduce their anxiety and makes them feel like a part of the process.

From patient intake to patient discharge, each step demands swift and precise communication, the lack of which creates room for potentially life-threatening errors. So, hone your communication skills to avoid such blunders.

Develop a connection with patients

Emotional support is just as important as physical aid in healthcare. A nurse-patient bond built on mutual trust, respect, and understanding can speed up recovery, boost patient morale, and influence treatment outcomes.

As a nurse, you will likely encounter patients from diverse backgrounds struggling with various serious ailments. You will cater to patients with chronic illnesses, psychological disorders, and irreversible injuries, individuals recovering from alcohol, drug addictions, and eating disorders, as well as survivors of trauma, abuse, and harassment. They will be reaching out to you during one of the lowest phases of their lives. To fully support them, you must create a safe space where they can voice out their concerns without the fear of judgment. Only if your patients can trust you and feel comfortable will they fully open up and express their problems without any barriers.

To foster such a bond, remember to dedicate quality time to know your patients. Listen more, don’t push them out of their comfort zone, and speak on their behalf to ensure their voice is heard.

Find a work-life balance

A nurse’s job is demanding both physically and mentally. A significant chunk of your day is dedicated to looking after the needs of others. While working tirelessly is an admirable trait, it can also prove to be quite draining if done without proper care. Excelling at any career requires a balance. Studies suggest that working every day on a rigid schedule without any breaks can be counterproductive and lead to loss of passion and poor quality work.

Hence, a healthy work-life balance is crucial not only for your mental health and relationships. It also enhances your performance and productivity. Indeed, work forms a significant portion of our lives, but that’s just it; it’s a small ‘portion.’

To live a truly fulfilling life and be content, you must prioritize all aspects equally, be it patients, family, friends, hobbies, and most importantly yourself. Focusing only on work will lead to loss of motivation, you’ll feel drained, and your days will feel like a chore. Instead, find a good medium. Utilize your paid time off to refresh and rejuvenate by spending quality time with family members, catching up with friends, planning a vacation, or even just some me-time. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and with a new sense of purpose. 

Stay up-to-date

One lesson the pandemic taught us is you can do almost anything with the assistance of digital media. Technology has become an integral part of almost every professional, which is why even nurses must stay relevant and keep up with the latest gadgets and equipment in the market.

Many healthcare facilities are ditching the clutter of files. Instead, hospitals and clinics are now investing in online systems and databases to store and maintain patients’ medical records. These systems reduce manual labor, making record-keeping easy and enabling quick access to a single document among many files. Also, you no longer have to run around with piles of paperwork. Instead, you can now digitally manage their documents, jot down important notes, create patient reports and accurately transfer them to other healthcare personnel. 

Conclusion

Nursing is an in-demand career expected to grow over the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job openings for nurses to increase by 38% between 2020 and 2030, which is far more than any other profession in the US. So, follow the tips mentioned above to become a better nurse and take advantage of the bright future ahead of you.

Photo by Laura James from Pexels

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