Excuse me while I get my smelling salts!
A veritable cornucopia of nursing caps!
I love it!
I see about ten I would wear, and some that are beyond the pale!
One looks like a gas station attendant should have it on (circa 1950s) and one looks like a paper airplane. There is one in the middle, third row from the top, that looks like conjoined caps. Methinks the designer must have been chemically impaired!
I still like my own cap the best!
My forays into recent BlogWorld and ENA conferences have left me with a plethora of ideas and inspiration. This post is one of them, directly inspired by the keynote speaker at the ENA Scientific Assembly in Minneapolis, Dr. Joseph Michelli, PhD.
For some reason, I am occasionally mistaken for the doctor. I’ve overheard it happen to colleagues.
And if I hear the phrase, “Oh, no, I’m just the nurse” one more time, I am going to explode.
But then I started thinking, are you “just” a nurse?
“Just-a-Nurse” is competent. They come in, they do their job. They do it safely, they do it correctly and then they go home. They are on-the-clock until they are off-the-clock. “Just-a-Nurse” goes through the motions. They look like a nurse, they act like a nurse and they do the work of a nurse. Their goal is to get through the tasks of nursing. That’s their job. Whether they like it or not.
Or is it?
I guess it depends on your definition of nursing.
Nursing is something you do for and/or with a patient. It’s not something that you do to a patient. The former requires that you become engaged in what you are doing and engaged with the patient. The latter is simply the quickest way to complete a task so you can turn the bed over to the next patient.
My trust Mac widget dictionary defines “engage” as “establish a meaningful contact or connection with” a person. Is that not what professional nurses do when they care for a patient?
“Just-a-Nurse” cares about getting the work done. A professional nurse cares about the focus of the work – the patient.
The professional nurse engages the patient.
It doesn’t happen spontaneously.
It takes an active, personal decision to commit to being engaged. As nurses, we are responsible for that commitment, because it makes for a better experience for the patient.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
We are caught between two competing forces. On the one hand, we are supposed to work faster and move the patients through quickly to either save money or make money. On the other hand, a very high value is placed on patient satisfaction. Some may even believe that one leads to the other.
Patient satisfaction scores are related to the level of engagement of the nursing staff. Competence is great, but when you engage a patient, when you embrace the task at hand and tailor it specifically to that patient, you create an experience for that patient.
You make them feel valued. A patient who feels valued is a satisfied patient. Isn’t that our goal as nurses?
But, in engaging the patient, you are doing something else. You are engaging the profession. And when you engage the profession, you automatically engage the patient because that is what professional nurses do. It becomes a feed-back loop.
This message resonated with me because I spent many a year of my career as “Just-a-Nurse”, and it had nothing to do with where I stood on Benner’s novice-to-expert continuum. Usually it meant the arrival of burn-out and/or time to make a change.
A professional nurse needs to be engaged with their profession, leading to engagement with their patients.
How much responsibility are we taking for the state of the nursing profession? The answer lies in how engaged we decide to be.
So…at this point in time, are you “Just-a-Nurse” who can’t wait to punch out for the day or a professional nurse engaged making your patients feel valued?
It’s a conscious decision.
A decision we make every day of our career.