Welcome back to Semester Two! I don’t know about you, but semester one flew by, and I have a feeling semester two is going to do the same, with placement and assignment due dates fast approaching…..again!
For this post I thought I would talk about an experience I had over the semester break that made me realise the importance of everything we are taught as nursing students. I had to have surgery in the holidays, for an injury I did last year to my hip (Yes I am was a fully fledged old lady, thank goodness it was a ‘sort of’ easy fix!), it was elective surgery and my first time in hospital (that I remember). I was lucky in a way that I had a date and knew it was coming, but it really didn’t make it any easier, and I learnt very quickly what its like to be the patient, which is a very different experience from being in the Hospital as a student nurse!
I feel as nursing students we are well prepared for how much nurses do in the care of their patients, but it wasn’t until I experienced being on the ‘other side’ of nursing if you will, that I understood the incredibly important role nurses play in patient care. I stayed one night in hospital, and I quickly realised that your Nurse is the one health professional you see the most, although I spoke to many – Surgeons, Anaesthetist, Physiotherapists, the list goes on – but the nurses were the people who I got to know the most, and in a very short space of time.
The little things that sometimes are easy to forget really do matter and they go a long way to make your patients feel better. As a patient there is a certain element of helplessness or vulnerability, and you end up putting a lot of trust into your Nurses. Across my stay I noticed a few things the Nurses did for me, that I always knew were important in patient care, but made such a difference, as a patient, and I knew I wanted to remember them for my future as a Nurse, these include:
1. Always introduce yourself
I know this is something that’s always said to us, and it should be common sense, but I had a couple of instances where people walked into my room talked to me and left, and I sat wondering who they even were
2. Spend the time developing the relationship with your patient (aka nurse-client relationship)
I know this is one of the most talked about, and possibly dreaded topics subjects in our training, but in practice it really really does matter – I had some amazing nursing care, and when I think about it, they all (probably subconsciously) had characteristics that we have learnt across the course of class and the many assignments
3. Move the table and call bell close enough
This may seem like a very small thing, but there is nothing worse than wanting something as simple as a glass of water, and its just out of arms reach – made even worse by the fact that you can’t move anyway!
4. Lastly, and potentially most importantly…..
Never underestimate the power your nursing role has on a patients time in hospital – Nurses are the health professionals that patients arguably have the most contact with, and you don’t realise quite how much you need them until you are 99% reliant on them for pretty much everything – and having an amazing Nurse makes a otherwise pretty tough situation a little easier.
Nursing students – I have said this before, we are studying towards one of the most amazing and rewarding careers, and I couldn’t personally imagine doing anything else, always remember the important role you play in every one of your patients lives while they’re in hospital, and the impact you can have by remembering all the things we have been taught while we’re studying, especially the little things, trust me patients notice, so strive to be the best Nurse you can possibly be!