As the pandemic shakes the world, the glaring shortage of nurses across the globe is highlighted. This has brought into the limelight the need to recruit and train additional healthcare professionals with the responsibilities and requirements that come with being a nurse. To more than just succeed in your daily duties as a nurse, and make a fulfilling career in the long run, we’ve put together a list of some of the habits that you can cultivate early on in your career:-
Engage in Critical Thinking
It is wrongly assumed that nurses only follow orders. Although strict adherence to instructions is a critical part of the job, nurses also need to thoroughly assess their patients and the situation and employ critical thinking to implement an effective plan of action. Nurses are expected to identify unusual medication combinations, adapt to changing team setups, and sometimes work with the limited resources available to them, which requires critical thinking and awareness.
A good way to exercise problem solving and critical thinking is my reading books, and solving daily brain teasers, sudoku puzzles etc. Also consider not resorting to your calculator for math calculations – try to do them in your head, and only use the calculator to confirm your answer.
Practice Paying Attention to Detail
Nurses are under tremendous pressure and are constantly serving different patients throughout the day which could result in human error. However, with close attention to detail this can be prevented. Nurses have to ensure that the instructions are stringently followed and the patient records are accurately maintained at all times.
The requirement to be attentive to every small change of their patient’s medical condition and alerting the physicians and other members of the healthcare team, all emphasise the importance of being conscious of the details.
A good way to sharpen this skill is by meditating daily. It increases your ability to focus for long periods of time and allows you to block out distractions effortlessly.
Build Effective Communication Skills
As nurses are dealing with the health of their patients first hand, they must be proficient at advocating for the patients who may not have the strength to speak for themselves. Strong communication skills are indispensable when it comes to interfacing between all the members of the healthcare team. Apart from verbal communication, non-verbal communication cues such as smiling, maintaining eye contact, and being a better listener can offer a patient a sense of comfort knowing that their nurses care for them.
Communication skills get better by practice. Ensure you speak your mind, and don’t keep your feelings bottled up – not only will it take care of your mental health, but also teach you how to communicate those tough ideas, feelings and emotions effectively.
Show Your Willingness to Learn
With the changing medical landscape, technological improvements, and breakthrough studies in science, nurses need to constantly adapt and express a willingness to learn. A genuine curiosity must be complemented with asking questions if something is not clearly understood. There is no room for ambiguity considering the sensitive and delicate nature of the job.
Nursing requires a lifelong commitment to learning which could be as simple as inquiring after your patient’s health, building trust, or learning about the new equipment and diseases afflicting mankind. Discuss learning opportunities with the senior management so that you are always updated with the latest medical advancements.
Enrol yourself in online courses, and remind yourself that learning never stops – not when you graduate from university and not when you turn 50. Learning is a lifelong process.
Be Technologically Savvy
Technology has become an integral part of modern nursing. A technologically savvy nurse can have huge competitive advantage over his or her peers in being considered for promotion in the organisation. There are applications that allow nurses to determine medication dosages and websites that allow access to electronic health records. Being an advocate or champion of any software or technology that your organisation uses can be a good way to gain early advantage in your career.
Update your phone applications, invest in the latest technology, and open yourself to using automation products – to be at the top of the game at all times.
Be a Team Player
Working in a team is an inevitable part of being a nurse. On certain occasions, you may be expected to work with crew members and health care professionals that you find hard to agree with. Working with physicians who do not return the same respect as you expect is a reality.
However building your self-confidence by being on top of your skills can help you stand your ground and manage such situations. It is also important to treat every one of your colleagues with the same respect as you would like to receive and maintain a professional decorum in all stressful situations. Maintaining a healthy work relationship with your colleagues can help you sympathize with one another and receive the much-needed emotional support at your workplace.
Consider joining a team sport for after or before work hours. While playing a sport will help you remain fit, it will also teach you important lessons of sportsmanship and team spirit.
Find a Mentor
It is important to consider that veteran nurses have with them several years of experience and knowledge that cannot be easily replaced. Therefore, to receive proper guidance in your professional nursing journey, it is important to identify experienced nurses who can share their knowledge without the fear of judgment. In the long run, these mentors can also provide you recommendations for your work or refer you for right opportunities that they come across.
Don’t shy away from networking with those senior to you at your workplace. Reach out to them, request them to join you for lunch, connect with them on Linkedin, and aim at building a long-lasting and trustworthy relationship.
If you think you have entered the nursing profession merely for the paycheck, you might be in for a rude shock. While the pay can prove to be beneficial, there are several aspects to nursing that must be considered before entering into the profession. These include the expectation of long working hours, physical and emotional burnout, and witnessing a patient suffering-which can never be easy. However, the rewards are incomparable. Curing the health of a patient can be immensely fulfilling in itself and along the journey, some special ones will leave an impression on your heart.
For a successful nursing career, set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Those that are:
- Realistic and
Like most professions, nursing requires a long-term commitment to the job even when the situation gets trying. This does not mean that you suffer in silence and shoulder physical and emotional exhaustion. Foot problems and back injuries are common among nurses and so it is important to invest in good shoes and stretch and exercise to reduce back problems.
On the emotional front, every nurse should consider counselling and support to prevent an emotional burnout. These self-investments along with the acknowledgement that there is no short cut to success – can help you stick with the job when things get difficult.
Be a Thought Leader
The currency of the 21st century is a strong digital presence. Engaging with your online community through images and blog posts on your learnings and experiences not only helps you emerge as a thought leader, but also helps so many aspiring nurses learn from your knowledge and share the same with others.
To start with, consider writing blog posts on Medium, sharing photographs on Instagram, and building a networking profile on Linkedin. To know more about how you can leverage social media to win in your career, read our blog post on How to Use Social Media Professionally to Make Yourself Discoverable.
Remember, knowledge when shared only doubles – and today, like never before, it is extremely easy to have a voice and reach out to thousands of interested individuals with your message.
Enjoy Good Humour
Despite the challenges of the profession, nurses who can find time for a laugh are comparatively more successful than those who are always sulking. Incorporating a light-hearted attitude can not only relieve your own stress, but also help spread positivity to other nurses, patients, and their families. In distressing times patients and their family members can be appreciative of a little bit of happiness.
Watch movies, read books that make you happy and meet people who make you laugh. Listen to music, podcasts and audiobooks, watch shows and remind yourself to not take life too seriously.
“Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)”