Nursing involves both course work and practical sessions. The continuous medical revolution has seen the use of convention methods of providing healthcare in the past to the current ways of providing medical assistance. Practical guidelines and practice have also been set out and those who practice nursing are expected to utilize them. Most professional institutions provide platforms and opportunities for their employees in order for them to develop their skills and knowledge on a particular subject. Nursing as an academic course work and as a practice discipline has its own standards that require individuals who learn or practice it go through a constant knowledge and skill development to ensure effective and efficient service delivery, patient and employee satisfaction. Experience develops your role increases your responsibilities towards your job (Royal College of Nursing, 2007). Jasper (2003), notes that professional development comes as a result of reflecting your professional experiences. Others are through feedback and guiding framework or structures (Levett-Jones, 2007; Duffy, 2009; Mann, Gordon & MacLeod, 2009). In this paper I am going to reflectively narrate my academic, practical and communication development as a student and practicing nurse including an action plan for the areas that will need further development.
Studying nursing is not that easy. It involves spending lots of time in lectures, library and in labs. While doing this, you are required to attend group discussions during free hours. You also have to set time aside for breaks either for relaxing or having meals and doing other personal activities. Studying took a lot of time than the rest. Time spent studying and doing research is more than twenty five hours. At the beginning, the course took a toll on me but with time I have been able to participate in all the requirements. All was possible through respecting time. This has enabled me to efficiently manage time for all the assignment and personal activities that I am supposed to perform. As a result, tasks have been completed before deadlines.
Some sections in the course demanded formation of discussion groups. The groups acted as unit centers where social networking began. It encouraged team work and gave each individual an opportunity to be responsible. The group that I was in developed my leadership skills. I was able to motivate, give responsibilities plus ensuring that we make the best presentation and give out the best results from any assignments that were brought to us. One important thing that we learnt is that each member of a team is a part of the wholesome accomplishment that we present. Without any of us there are no results.
A medical study involves knowing and remembering a lot of terminologies. Any nurse or medical practitioner needs to know everything that pertains to nursing. Knowing them, identifying them and understanding their roles are mandatory before you practice nursing. Constant reading, sometimes incorporating flash cards has helped in improving my memory stability. Memorizing the hundreds medical terms means that I am able to memorize any new term that I did not know.
Before any course work is taught the lecturer always give an outline. They also provide sources from which we can make further studies. As part of study, I had to do some research work of the subjects that will be taught or what has been taught so as to grasp what I should learn in the course. Initially, I could not get information that I needed but I had to refine my search regularly until I can now access accurate and specific information on a particular subject. Doing research has encouraged and enhanced my reading ability. In most cases I have got more than one similar book source hence I had to analyse the books. The more I do this; my analytical skills keep on improving. Other skills that I have acquired as a result of research and analysis is making summaries, writing reports and collecting accurate data.
Critical thinking is another aspect of nursing that is being taught and is a very fundamental possession for every nurse prescriber (DoH, 2002). During this subject, several problems have been introduced. Questions have been asked and have been presented with case studies that describe events that are in dilemma. These situations are all aimed at measuring my critical reasoning before making a decision. I have been taught some tools of critical thinking that develop diagnostic reasoning, analytical, judgmental and evaluation skills when solving medical problems (Banning, 2006).
Ethics is a subject that is also taught in nursing. It is outlined in The Code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives (NMC, 2008). It generally involves doing what is morally right with an aim improving health status of the patients. It also involves respecting one another and roles that each one performs. Ethics promote safety and a peaceful working environment. Learning about ethics has made me mind other people and the roles that the play. It has forced me to always try to do the right thing. I ensure that I become competent (Maslin-Prothero, 2010) when executing a medical action according to practice guidelines.
Apart from the academic knowledge and skills that I have acquired from nursing, it has enabled me develop a lot of practical skills. The placement opportunities within the university and outside the university, has exposed me to real life situations that I will face after the completion of the degree. Working in a hospital made me work with different variety of people. It helped me become indiscriminate and be appreciative of the different cultures of people. I ensured that I provided appropriate care to even the more culturally sensitive individuals.
Working in wards and with different patients enabled me witness a lot of painful sufferings and death. Families of the deceased reacted painfully. As a nurse it is usually very difficult to handle these moments. One skill gained from these situations is managing stress and trauma. Immediately after witnessing these events, I take a relaxing shift which is advised by Murray (2001), see a stress therapist or seek company of other staff members sharing stories so as to forget any previous stress memories. This practical skill has enable me work even more effectively without developing any kind of traumatic stress or having a reduced work output.
Nursing care plans do not work in a similar way to the different types of patients. Each patient needs his or her own care plan. Working with them and understanding the patients has helped me develop customized nursing care plans. The healthcare plans are specific to a particular patient hence has proven to be very effective.
Research in the course work has been used in the practical setting. Before any treatment procedure is done or any health care plan is developed, research on the subject is done. It is for this case that research on the evidence-based treatment approaches is done. Evidence-based approach includes researching for a proven procedure that will guide me in making a decision as to the type of patient care to be administered (Sackett, Stauss, Richardson, Rosenburg & Haynes, 2000). Before I even diagnose I have learnt that assessment of the patient needs to be done. Several assessment tools exist according to the type of disease one is suffering from. The assessments will help in diagnosis of the disease followed by treatment procedures.
Most clinics and hospitals have many rooms and long corridors. The population of people and patients in the clinic is always too much making the institutions fill up. One important practical development due to the large population is the realization of the importance of the small spaces. The tiny spaces that medical practitioners and nurses penetrate through have made them save lives. The significance of this is not underestimating or ignoring the little resources that are available. This will also go as far as interacting or when providing medical care to some patients. There is a healing power in giving the most affected patients a reason for hope. A little complement might trigger a healing process of a patient.
Practical nursing involves a lot of record keeping. I have carried record sheets at all times so as to record very important data. It might be symptoms, reactions or status of the patients. Record keeping of these data is very useful when u realize that one patient is under the care of many nurses who rotate their shifts. The information is used by the nurses and doctors who continue with treatment procedures. Patient’s medical history is very useful information needed when diagnosing the patient.
The hospital activities and people are always at competing demands to be acted upon. The setting is always very busy. Practicing experience has made me manage my time more wisely. As long as I concentrate with the medical care demands I set time for other activities such as study time, break, family time and having fun. Managing my time in this way has enabled me be energetic in my next tasks.
The nursing code of practice outlines communication in nursing to involve respecting confidentiality, sharing and interpreting information in simple terms that can be understood and necessary, accurate record keeping and possessing effective verbal and written skills (Wright, 2012). Successful communication acts as an assurance of receiving a better treatment. Good communication skills in nursing, therefore, indicate best practice (McCabe & Timmins, 2006).
A very important aspect of nursing is on how to interact with patients (Hamilton & Martin, 2007) and their families. Nursing experience has enabled me keep constant communication with my co-workers, supervisors, patients and their families. Only relevant information is conveyed to a particular audience in the best form possible. This involves interpretation of the information according to the type of audience. How I communicate to my fellow staff members is different from how I communicate to the patient and their families.
Communication must flow between the nurse on duty and the family of the patient when maintaining a very close monitoring procedure on the assigned patient at a particular period of time. As a medium between these two parties you have to be very observant and put into details whatever you discover about the patient. Words to be spoken must be weighed before disseminated to the family members. The choice of words either in writing or verbally must be well selected when breaking out a painful event such as death.
Communication requires giving accurate information regarding health status of the patient. There are always risks that may lead into providing inaccurate information but through nursing practice experience it is easy to avoid the risks. In addition to this, have developed communication honesty. Any information enquired is given. This has resulted in building trust with the patients and their families. In relation to this skill, I have mastered the art interpreting very clear messages that are simple to understand and are not ambiguous.
During one of the placement, I realized the importance of regular record keeping. One of the nurses did not record some of the information that she observed in one of the patient. The patient had fallen down during her shift and she did not record the assessments she performed. After changing of the shifts the same patient fell down again and the new nurse discovered that he had a lot of injuries hence had been suffering from the pain as a result from the injuries. This situation has developed my observation and record keeping skills. I record accurate and detailed information that will be useful during diagnosis.
My non-verbal communication skills have greatly been improved. This profession sometimes involves expressing hope even though there are no indications of the patient being healed. Words spoken should complement with body language. Nursing practice has developed my body language, eye contact when addressing the patient and the family and my voice intonation when giving information.
I have developed cultural sensitivity and empathy when dealing with patients. This has helped in a great deal in approaching the patients and their families. Understanding them is very important and through this you are able retrieve necessary information from them that might be helpful in creating a healthcare plan that suits them.
Constant monitoring is part of communication development I have gained. Being available at all times has helped in making observations and keeping tabs of the health status of the patients. It has also enhanced quick response towards any emergence and health needs of a patient. The only close people that patients have are the medical personnel within hospitals (Cutcliffe & McKenna, 2005). They believe that we are the only people who understand them and what they go through.
It has been very difficult to fully understand the multidisciplinary teamwork within clinics. I mostly end up doing a lot while ignoring other co-workers. There is a need to understand that all nursing activities are collaboratively carried out. “The profession depends on a culture of mutual support” (Somerville & Keeling, 2004). Each member has his or her own responsibility therefore to develop team work skills I will have to register in groups within the hospital and at the university to develop how I interact with others.
Failing to plan responsibilities with time has made me be biased in the roles that I play. I tend to concentrate in one role more than the other. Time management skills is a must for me hence list priorities and make my day to day plans for each activity that needs to be done.
Though I have had practical experience and knowledge in nursing, I feel it has not been enough for me. To be able to gain more skills and knowledge I will seek volunteering opportunities and part-time placements.
Some other areas that need more developments include coping with traumatic stress especially after a busy day or loss of a patient. One way to manage this further will mean making frequent visits to trauma therapists, spending more time with friends and relaxing (Health & Safety Executive, 2001). I sometimes find it tiresome recording even minute observed details about patients hence accumulate the observations before I put them down. To avoid this, I will have to come up with the best and interesting way of recording any observed information. One way is using an audio recorder that can later be put in writing.
Constant communication even the one that looks unnecessary is important. Giving complements to little achievement has been my weakness. To be able to strengthen connection with the patients this form of communication is necessary. A simple complement goes a long way in making a large difference. Any small accomplishment will henceforth be followed with a complement.
Development practice involves some aspects of skills that have acquired during nursing practice. From the first year I have been able to learn a lot about the history and the modern day medicine. Nursing has enabled me to efficiently manage time for all the assignment and personal activities that I am supposed to perform. The discussion groups encouraged team work and in turn have developed my leadership skills. It has helped in improving my memory stability. Doing research has encouraged and enhanced my reading ability. Other skills that have acquired as a result of research and analysis is making summaries, writing reports and collecting accurate data. I am now morally right with an aim of improving health status of patients. I have been taught some tools of critical thinking that I must apply prior to making any decision.
Others include working with different variety of people and managing stress and trauma. Working with them and understanding the patients has helped me develop customized nursing care plans. Before I even diagnose I have learnt that assessment of the patient needs to be done. One important practical development due to the large population is the realization of the importance of the small spaces. I have carried record sheets at all times so as to record very important data. Practicing experience has made me manage my time more wisely.
Constant monitoring is part of communication development I have gained. I have developed cultural sensitivity and empathy when dealing with patients. My non-verbal communication skills have greatly been improved including my observation and record keeping skills. I give accurate information regarding health status of the patient and maintain a very close monitoring procedure on the assigned patient at a particular period of time.
Reflecting on your responsibilities will ultimately result in a practical skill improvement (Owen & Stupans, 2009). Though I have developed practical nursing skills, there are some areas that I need some development. This can be summarized as:
|The issue/ problem/ challenge
|What you are going to do in order to address it
|What resources will you need
|How you will be able to measure your success in dealing with it|
|Understanding Multidisciplinary Teamwork
|Registering in a university-based study of team work and joining academic and sport groups||Time
|Responsiveness of my co-workers
How often they seek my assistance
Striking correct balance in commitment of roles
|Making priorities and forming a flexible time management plan||Diary
|Evaluating myself at the end of each day|
Lack of enough knowledge and practical skills
|Seeking volunteering opportunities
Applying to part-time placements
|Being confident in practicing nursing in top ranked clinics
Ability to grasp and perform a lot of assignments
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