As the new nursing college graduate pics flood my Instagram, I can’t help but flashback to that feeling when I FINALLY walked across that stage as a NURSING SCHOOL GRADUATE! It was by far one of the HARDEST things in my life that I have ever endured. And in my honest opinion, it wasn’t necessarily the program, the tests, and the clinical that was the hard part. It was the SACRIFICE that you had to make, physically, emotionally, and mentally throughout! Nursing school is NO JOKE! And for those moms going back with children, those recently divorced, those second career-er’s juggling REAL jobs while enduring, and those working their way through their program…..YOU GUYS ARE HEROES! You now will be able to forever believe that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!! And you will now have an understanding of how incredible and hardworking your fellow nurses around you are….because you ALL have been through it!
As you pass your NCLEX and lock down that first nursing gig, I want you to remember one VERY important thing. It was a question on tests and a line in nursing textbooks that was engraved in your brain during school: YOU ARE A PATIENT ADVOCATE. That is your sole role as a nurse. I’m sure you might be thinking “Why are you telling me this, I get that?” Yes, you know that now, but as you hit the floor and get your first patient assignment, shiz starts getting real. The call bells don’t stop ringing. The food comes cold or late. The computer doesn’t work. The families complain. The doctors aren’t so nice. People don’t pick up their phones. The computer still doesn’t work. You can’t find a witness (you’ll get that soon ;)). The discharges get written. Admissions come before others leave. IV’s fall out. The computers still don’t work, and you haven’t charted a lick…..
THIS is real nursing. It will be flooded with problems that you can’t control. It is so easy to get caught up in the tasks of what this profession and hospitals ask of you. I want you all to remember this blog when you’re having “those moments.” I want you to ALWAYS try to take a minute in the midst of chaos, and remember what your role is. You are a PATIENT ADVOCATE. These are lives. These people are sick. Some of them don’t have family or support. Some are cranky as crap. Some are sweet as pie. But at the end of the day, they are people like you and me. At their core, they want to feel loved and appreciated. The computer, the food, the discharges, and the channel changing can wait. TAKE THE TIME TO TALK TO AND CARE FOR YOUR PATIENTS!
“The human touch is that little snippet of physical affection that brings a bit of comfort, support, and kindness. It doesn’t take much from the one who gives it, but can make a huge difference in the one who receives it.”
I don’t agree with a lot of what hospitals and conventional medicine have come to today. I feel like instead of making time for charting and the business in the midst of taking care of patients, we now have to make time for taking care of patients in the midst of a day of charting and business. It just feels to me that a lot of the holistic aspect of what we do as nurses can easily be stolen if we don’t take a step back and make it a priority.
So I urge you new grads, remember your role: you are a patient advocate. You are not a slave to charting. You are not a slave to numbers and business. Your role is to safely TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS……they will always be your priority. You will have times where you will certainly feel like the hospital doesn’t care. But guess what? It’s your JOB to care, and it’s you license! It’s your job to keep your patient safe.
If you don’t take that time in your day to build rapport with your patients, trust is out the door. Notice I said take time. Building trust takes time, and sometimes its just a 5 minute conversation about their life that will make a world of difference in your day, and their care. When people don’t trust, they become uneasy and not so easy to to deal with. We have to spend time with our patients. I truly believe that we as nurses have just as much of an impact on healing as any medication or intervention, if not more.
We are all here because we LOVE and care about people! Remember, you didn’t put yourself through 2-4 years of HARD WORK to come into a job and push meds and chart. You came into this profession because you love people and wanted to take care of them. Your patients are your focus. Keep that mindset in the midst of those crazy days. I promise you, that’s what will matter and stand out at the end of the day. Congratulations New Grads! You DID!! No go out and be a light in lives and a PATIENT ADVOCATE….don’t forget it 🙂