Sunday, August 22, 2010

What My Ideal Nursing Practice Looks Like

This was before I stated in the hospital.  Ah, ideals!  Aren't they cute?

My ideal nursing practice? Well, that's simple. I'd never get the meds wrong. I'd perform every procedure flawlessly and painlessly the first time. I'd catch the patient hours before she'd start circling the drain. I'd say the right words at the right time in the right tone to comfort the bereaved (not that their loved one would ever die on my shift, of course). And I'd spend hours researching best practices and find a way to implement them all. Do you hear those trumpets playing, too?

Ok, back on earth. I like making people feel better. That's my tagline for my ideal nursing practice.

I think one of the most important factors to feeling better is getting rid of the fear factor. The best way I know to do that is through education and keeping the patient in the loop about his or her treatment. When a patient or family member has a question about a procedure or a drug, I want to take the time and explain it to them until I see the light bulb go on. Not only would I get a personal thrill from doing that, but knowing what is going to happen, and the rationale behind it, takes away some of the patient's anxiety. Higher levels of anxiety have been associated with higher levels of pain, (Loncar, Zoran, 06/2006) so managing that anxiety could potentially reduce my patients' pain. So, my ideal nursing practice would include a lot of patient education.

I would like a clinical setting where prevention is also taught and encouraged. I think I would volunteer for a lot of community health fairs and clinics in my practice.

My desire to educate extends to other nurses as well. I can see my ideal nursing practice including a preceptor role. Again, I would want to do more than just send my student off to take vitals, or 'show 'em how it's done' with a procedure. I would really want to explain the ins and outs, and make sure my student was comfortable with her role. If I could reduce his or her anxiety about nursing, I'd walk home on clouds.

So, aside from being Nurse Poppins (practically perfect in every way), my ideal nursing practice would include a strong element of research and education, and focus on anxiety and fear reduction for both patients and new nurses/students.

Loncar, Zoran (06/2006). "The relationships between burn pain, anxiety and depression". Collegium antropologicum (0350-6134), 30 (2), p. 319.

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