Going to a hospital can be a vulnerable moment for patients. Whether they’re coming in for a routine checkup, awaiting test results, or having to get rushed through the ER, all these situations can make a patient both nervous and agitated. This is why they turn to healthcare professionals for comfort and support, especially the nursing staff.
As a nurse, you occupy more front-line positions than doctors since your role is pivotal in ensuring patients are comfortable and prepared to see their physician. Therefore, from making small talk to recording a patient’s data, you need to be excellent at your job. Simultaneously, you can’t ignore working on your soft skills, time management, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance to avoid letting stress get the best of you. So if you’re ready to be the best version of yourself and take care of your patients with the utmost professionalism, here’s what you need to do:
1. Integrate yourself into more leadership roles
As a nurse, you can take on more leadership roles that bring you to the top of patient care. However, you must prepare yourself before assuming your position as a leader. You have limited power and say regarding patient care while holding merely a bachelor’s degree. But if you allow yourself to work your way up the hierarchical ladder, you can make a difference.
For example, by becoming a chief nursing officer, you can control all the aspects of patient care. This includes managing budgets, preparing schedules, and bringing new nurses to your department. By looking after patients optimally, you boost a hospital’s imagery and open the doors to more positive reviews.
To start to take on this lucrative position, you need to get a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) and ideally work your way to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). If you’re worried about giving up your job to pursue a master’s degree, don’t be. Online nursing programs are available to help you balance your work and study schedule. The University of Texas – Arlington has a national RN to MSN program as well as a DNP program, both which are online.
2. Communicate effectively
Communication between a nurse and a patient is like an exchange of information. Instead of dialogue, you ask the patient a series of questions for the patient to answer. However, small talk does help in making the patient feel more comfortable around you, so don’t hold back from showing empathy and compassion.
The questions you ask should be specific to the patient’s disease, and it’s best you go over their chart. Once you have the details, you need to dive into their family history, underlying health conditions, and the symptoms. A patient may require you to slow down and repeat the question without showing any inclination of being annoyed; follow their lead. You may even have bilingual patients, so be sure you have a translator app or someone to help you out.
Some patients may need non-verbal cues like hand gestures and nods, so pay attention to how they communicate with you and mimic their style. Your questions cannot be judgmental, accusatory, or dismissive. Focus on what the patient is saying and never use abdications to describe a test or a condition. You should use complete forms of every word and concise sentences.
3. Learn more about your profession
You should never stop learning, even if you have a terminal degree in your career. Nursing is a lifelong commitment to growth, both intellectually and professionally. The only way you can achieve this status is by immersing yourself deeply in your field. Attend conferences and workshops as much as possible since these events dive into the latest technology, tools, and methods that enable you to work faster and more effectively.
Outside of work, you can also volunteer in your community by working in retail clinics, educating on public health, and looking after patients who can’t afford primary healthcare. You can also go online and read nursing blogs and pick up the experiences of other nurses who share a similar niche like yours.
If you feel like you’re lagging while working and need help managing your schedule, speak to a mentor or a trusted coworker. They can help you figure out where you’re going wrong with managing your time and how you can improve yourself. By learning about your role, you allow yourself to flourish and upskill in more than one way.
4. Become comfortable with technology
Hospitals are becoming increasingly tech-savvy with technological equipment like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and robotics. You can enjoy much of this technological expansion even as a nurse by training yourself to use these new gadgets. Instead of sticking to manual charting and writing prescriptions on paper, start working on electronic health charts and learn to accurately connect patient data to the hospital’s database.
Telehealth is also becoming a standard method among patients to seek consultation. Figure out what role you can play in assisting patients online. You can guide patients on routine checkups and also provide them with the information they need to monitor their health, including encouraging sharing data from their smart devices.
At the hospital, smart IVs can help you both drain and deliver fluids without your need for monitoring. This lets you strap up multiple patients simultaneously and let the automated system provide the necessary fluids and stop when the limit is reached. You may even look after patients through portable monitor equipment. So instead of checking up on patients, you can use mobile devices that monitor the patient’s ECG, respiratory rates, and oxygen levels. This tech also alerts you if patients fall below the required threshold. This can save a parent’s life much faster and more efficiently by the seconds.
Technology gives you the time to rest between patients and also reduces your workload stress by removing much of the manual labor off you. So instead of feeling burdened and burnt out, you can manage your tasks.
Being a nurse is all about providing the best care to patients. However, you can also improve yourself and become a more skillful professional by thoroughly learning about your field. Start by going for an advanced degree that makes you more suitable for leadership positions that help you bring change into the environment.
Be better at talking to your patients and figure out effective ways to ask about their condition without making a patient feel uncomfortable. You should also strive beyond the workplace to further polish your skills and knowledge as a healthcare professional by working with those who can’t afford treatment and need your expertise in educating them on more fulfilling lifestyles. Finally, don’t shy away from technology; instead, let it help you by allowing you to do better at your job and reducing your stress.
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