PATCH ONE: Developing Professional Identity
The medical profession is a very important profession for the success and development of any economy. This is because apart from providing employment opportunities, the profession ensures the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities within a nation. This patch will be a reflection on how my views have changed over the years about the nursing and doctors profession.
Nursing is a profession that helps individuals and the community in dealing with existing challenges using available resources. As a nurse, I work in a supportive environment by learning the diverse needs of people and communities and being an advocate for the people he or she serves. This is a profession that requires hard work and passion in order for someone to make a difference in other people’s lives. This is why the profession was considered to be feminine because women have more ability of listening to the problems affecting people and communities (Hamric et al. 2013). However, due to the shortage of nurses that has been experienced throughout the world, the number of male nurses has increased over the recent past. I was initially motivated to take up the nursing profession after seeing the sufferings of my neighbours. I thought of a way of helping them out of their problems and realised one of the ways of serving the community was through being a nurse.
The nursing profession compares with other healthcare professions in provision of healthcare services to individuals and communities. Some of these professions are doctors profession. Both nurses and doctors are primarily involved in delivery of care to patients (McCormack, Manley & Titchen, 2013). However, while doctors specialise in one area of care provision, nurses have the knowledge and skill to take care of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of patients. This means that nurses’ interaction with patients can be more satisfying for the patients. I am usually safe when I get into a care facility and meet a doctor or a nurse. This is because nurses can use their clinical judgement to promote my health and wellbeing (Reason & Bradbmy, 2013).
However, despite the nobility of the nursing profession, there are those who still consider it as a female profession. In addition, there are those who consider that it is not well paying. This has resulted in shortage of nurses that is experienced in the UK and other parts of the western world. The gender stereotyping of the nursing profession originates from history when women were considered to have attributes of care and understanding which were needed for the profession.
Nurses have to work hand in hand with doctors (Reeves et al. 2013). They rely on doctors for information on diagnosis and treatment of the patients. The role of nurses in care delivery is therefore determined by the tasks assigned to them by doctors. Nurses can therefore not challenge any decision made by doctors. Doctors have a noble role because they are problem solvers. They have a role to promote the health of the patient and ensure that the condition affecting the patient does not recur (Cameron, 2011).
As has been mentioned, doctors participate in diagnosis of the patient (Reeves et al. 2013). On the other hand the nurse is involved in monitoring the treatment to be administered to the patient. In addition, as a nurse I can help the doctor to take patient history and perform diagnostic tests. However, doctors do not have the skills of performing nursing functions. This shows that as a nurse, I play an important role in improving the overall health of the patients.
My opinions on nursing have developed by watching and reading different problems that have afflicted people in communities. For example, there are many social issues like substance abuse, violence and crime, prostitution, mental health and family problems that have been highlighted in both print and electronic media (Anonson et al. 2014). My family views have also played a role in shaping my opinions. I come from a religious family setup where we consider people to be equal and would want people to experience the best in the world. However, due to inequalities that exist in the world, this cannot be possible. I therefore expect that people should be satisfied with the lives that they lead. This is why I chose the nursing career to help create a difference in people’s lives so that they may experience the satisfaction and consider their lives worth living.
The media has portrayed nurses and doctors as important people who help in eliminating different problems that people face in the society. For example, during times of crisis like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the media portrayed nurses and doctors as heroes who went to save humanity. This shows how noble the profession is in saving lives and improving the living standards of people. Nurses and doctors were portrayed on BBC and other international news channels as people who put their lives on the road for the sake of others. Viewers were encouraged to help and support the care professionals.
However, there are instances when media portrays nurses and doctors negatively. For example, when medication errors arise in hospitals or care facilities there are media personalities who tend to blow these problems out of proportion. This makes some people to consider some nurses and doctors as incompetent and people who do not clearly understand what they are doing or what they are supposed to be doing.
My family has also had an effect on my perception of the medical profession. My parents always considered nurses to be important people in care delivery due to the roles that nurses played in helping save my mother’s life. She was taken ill in one of her pregnancies. Luckily, she found very caring nurses who helped her through the experience and she did not lose her life. From this experience she has been speaking positively of the profession. This made me to have a positive view of the profession as I considered the profession as one where the passion is saving lives. I strive to use my skills to help save lives of as many people as possible and helping their families emotionally and psychologically.
PATCH 2: Service User Voice
I have just been rushed to hospital after an accident that involved our vehicle and other young men who seem drunk. We are rushed to the emergency unit where we find the nurses waiting for us. My vital signs are recorded and the blood level also recorded. A doctor is immediately called in to attend to us. I was feeling very weak physically and emotionally and wondered how I would tell my family to come and check on me. I was put on oxygen because my oxygen level was very low. I also underwent blood transfusion because I had excessive bleeding because I had a glass cut on my forehead.
The nurses within the care facility were very cooperative and they provided the necessary help by helping me contact my parents who came immediately. The facial expression of my mother made me feel sick because I could see her cry for me. I told them to take heart as I would be well. They knew that I was in a bad situation but they did not want me to feel very sorry for myself.
The next few days were very traumatising for me because I discovered that one of my friends had succumbed to his complications and died. I had all the intentions of going to his funeral but my health status would not allow me. The doctor had advised that I do not be allowed to leave the care facility as I was still weak and the drugs needed more time to have a better effect on my body. I decided to heed to the advice of the care professionals even though this made me suffer emotionally. Through this, I developed a close relationship with one of the nurses who was caring for me. I told her everything that I was going through. She was very loving and understanding and would take her time off her busy schedule to listen to me and provide compassionate advice and care. This helped in improving my emotional state and my response to treatment.
I stayed for another week and learned again that one of the drunken young men had also succumbed to the internal injuries that he was having. This also traumatised me because I was thinking am I the next one on the line. Coming from a Christian family I was just praying to God for a healing. The nurse who I had developed a personal relationship with also helped me in prayer. My parents and other family members used to visit me daily in the hospital. They prayed with me. This made me have a sense of belonging as I was feeling loved and cared for. This also helped in improving my response to treatment as I could now do most of the things for myself.
I stayed in the care facility for another one week as the nurses said that they needed to monitor my situation. After realising that I was stable, I was discharged from the care facility.
PATCH 3: Collaborative Working
My professional development in nursing has been influenced by different factors including self-awareness, communication and team working skills. I will evaluate my professional development based on these skills and how my perceptions have changed over the years.
Within the hospital, nurses have different roles. My perception on my professional role has changed over the years due to the interaction that I have had with other professionals. The perception has also been altered by the interaction with patients and their families during care delivery.
I have discovered that within the care facility there are those who specialize in particular area such as gynaecological nurse or radiology nurse. However, since nurses are versatile, specialisation does not mean that they cannot work in other departments (Reeves, et al 2013). I observed some working in different departments at different times. During this period, I started by working in general ward. My main duty was to assist other qualified nurses to deliver nursing care to patients. During this time, I frequently interacted with other health professionals who would come to look at patients. They included general practitioners, occupation therapists, and gynaecologists among others. After sometimes, I got an opportunity to work in radiology and imaging department. I learned to work with radiologists and other imaging technologists. Such rotation continued until I went through all departments including maternity. I realized that I had to alter my roles in order to suit in different environments within the hospital.
In the course of interaction with different health professionals and patients in hospital setting, I had to improve in various areas. I discovered that to be efficient, professional nurse required to have effective inter-personal and communication skills. Working together with other people in both hospital and community requires efficiency in communication (Anonson, et al 2014). Most duties call for enquiring and passing information to various professionals, patients and other stakeholders. This indicates that I have a duty to develop communications skills, both oral and writing. It plays a critical role in delivering quality healthcare service to patients as well as fostering inter-professional collaboration (McCormack, et al 2013).
In communication, nurses interact more frequent with patients than any other health professional. Handling patients from different backgrounds requires one to be persistent in learning (Cameron, 2011). I discovered that I could be having problems in communicating with the elderly patients due to the age difference between us. I have therefore learnt the importance of understanding elderly age nursing so that I can improve my clinical practice. I realized that communicating with them is quite different from when you communicate with young patients. They need a lot of patient since most of them may not speak fluently due to their health complications. Others may take time to get what nurses and other health workers communicate. Due to these technicalities, other health professionals entrust nurses with responsibility of handling patients (Reason, & Bradbury, 2013). Nurse becomes a mouthpiece for doctors to the patient. On the other hand, he or she becomes patient’s mouthpiece to a doctor. For instance, the nurse tells the doctor how the patient is feeling. In case the doctor want to communicate something to the patient, the nurse’s involvement is essential.
Inter-professional collaboration requires effective communication. Since the nurse is the main contact person when it comes to getting patient’s information, other professionals rely on what nurses tell them. Whenever they discuss matters pertaining patient’s condition, nurses provide vital information (Hamric, et al 2013). She plays an essential role in diagnosing the patient and assisting other professionals to understand patient’s needs. Nurses communicate patient’s progress to different specialists by writing medical reports (Anonson, et al 2014). They also communicate orally especially during inter-professional exercise. I realized that as a nurse, I have to improve my report writing skills since it is core part of nurses’ responsibility. Communicating orally to different health and social professionals was also a major challenge to me. However, other qualified nurses present always played great role in communicating on my behalf. I had a good platform for learning communication in inter-disciplinary practice.
Inter-personal skill is the key factor in nursing career. Nurses interact with health professionals, patients and other interested parties. In palliative and patient-centred care, nurses interact with family members and informal care givers. Before the patient is discharged, nurses engage family members in order to inform them how to take care of recovering patient (Cameron, 2011 & Hamric, et al 2013). They get advice on how to feed him as well as other aspects of care depending on patient’s need. In this case, I had an opportunity to learn how to relate with various people include informal care givers. Such interaction is a vital aspect of healthcare service since care givers rely on the information to know how to handle the patient at home. During m y stay in job placement, I noticed that nurses also receive feedback from caregivers and family on the progress of a patient. This happens when the patient attends regular out-patient appointment to health assessment and follow-up (McCormack, et al 2013). Therefore, interpersonal and communication skills are vital aspects in nursing profession.
While in placement, I discovered the importance of always seeking the consent of patients before administering any medication on the patient. Communication is important in getting this consent because through communication the patient can understand the different procedures that will be administered. I discovered the importance of formal and informal communication cues while dealing with the patients. For example, I learnt the importance of maintaining eye contact while talking to patients. This is because eye contact helps in identifying the different problems that patients could be facing. I realized that being a nurse is more of a calling than just a profession. Besides professional skills and competencies, professional nurses are patient and empathetic. They are able to understand the feelings of patients and to help them go through hospitalization period successfully. I strive to develop the same aspects to enable me deliver high quality healthcare to patients in future. I also intend to apply the skills I acquired during the placement in community based health programs. In doing this, I will be gaining more exposure to real-life situations. The experience will enhance my preparedness to develop professional and soft skills relevant in nursing career. Sharing the experience with my colleagues in college and also exchanging information will enhance further learning. It will facilitate acquisition of more knowledge that relate to my nursing discipline.
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