My name is Patricia. I’ve attended many educational facilities. I attended a two year associate degree nursing program at a community college in Massachusetts to obtain my initial nursing education. Over the years, I have continued my education in several states. I have taken on-campus and distance learning courses. In addition to my RN license, I have obtained a PhD in Natural Health. I’m also a Registered Herbalist.
My home is in Florida; however, I spend several months each year in New England. When I am in Florida, I work at a hospice house. I work year round as a nursing writer. Writing affords me flexibility and opportunities to share my expertise with new and experienced health care providers.
Next year, I will celebrate my fortieth anniversary of being a Registered Nurse! I have witnessed many changes; yet the core of nursing, providing outstanding patient care, remains constant.
Many people believe that nursing is a calling. I decided at the age of ten to be a nurse. A desire to alleviate suffering, promote wellness, and do meaningful work led me to a career in nursing.
People enter nursing though a variety of routes. Some people become nurses after witnessing a loved one live with a life changing illness. Others choose nursing as a second career. Many people begin working in the health care field in other roles, and then gradually enter the nursing field. I became a Registered Nurse at the age of nineteen. One of my classmates was sixty two. Nursing is an excellent career choice for people of all ages.
Keys to a Successful Nursing Career
Flexibility, a desire to learn, and a commitment to working hard have enabled my success. Being a team player is critical.
Two statements have guided my nursing career. I share these statements with every health care provider that I know as I believe that they are keys to success. The first statement is “He’s doing the best he can with what he’s got”. I learned this from a very wise teacher during my first semester of college. People are doing their best; even though it may not appear to be the case. As nurses we are in positons to provide patients with tools to do better. These tools may take the forms of teaching a person how to eat better, enhancing coping skills for living with chronic pain, or administering medications to improve a condition which causes distress. “He’s doing the best he can with what he’s got” reminds us to be humble and not judge challenging patients.
The other principle which guides my practice is “What is in the best interest of my patient?” Keeping this question in mind reminds me of the importance of effective communication with my patient and as a patient advocate. It ensures that I provide individualized care, recognizing the dignity of every person, every encounter.
A Day in the Life of a Nurse
Any nurse will tell you that there is no typical day in the life of a nurse. There are general routines; but they vary depending upon the setting that the nurse works in. As a writer, I do research and write.
When I am working as hospice nurse, I assess my patients, delegate instructions to other team members, coordinate care, and provide interventions to manage patient symptoms. I support the emotional needs of my patients and their family members. My day is spent providing hands on nursing care, and teaching. I work closely with care providers from other disciplines.
Nursing presents many challenges. Staffing rations are frequently insufficient. Time constraints and interruptions in the delivery of care occur frequently. Increasing regulations and documentation requirements take time away from patient care. The tasks which nurses perform and situations which they are faced with are frequently ugly. Nurses are exposed to people at their very worst and very best.
Nursing is satisfying work. As nurses, we are privileged to be present when babies are born, and loved ones die. We help children who have been given no chance of survival to come off of ventilators and thrive. While curing is not always possible; nurses facilitate healing of relationships and physical distress. Nurses save lives and empower people to live better lives.
Establishing a Successful Nursing Career
Nursing opportunities are available in multiple care settings. They exist in rural and urban areas. Options include full and part time hours.
While most employers seek experienced nurses, opportunities are available for new graduates. Some facilities offer extensive transition programs for new nurses. If a nurse is willing to relocate, endless opportunities abound.
Employers look for nurses who are committed to the work of caring. Flexibility regarding scheduling, and expertise in multiple areas is often sought. Enthusiasm, practicality, and the ability to work well with people are desirable qualities that employers look for in potential nursing employees. Dependability, organizational skills, and excellent communication skills are essential.
As a student, it is essential to make a good impression at each clinical experience. If I was a new nurse, I would ask contacts that I obtained during my student days to learn about nursing jobs. If a nurse has a particular field of interest, I would advise her or him to volunteer in that field. Being well prepared for interviews and presenting oneself as a professional is essential. Rather than focus on what a new nurse does not know, the new nurse should relate successful experiences that he or she had as a student. It is essential that new nurses be flexible regarding schedules and be open to working in a field of nursing which may or may not be his or her primary field of interest.
State nursing associations and the American Nurses Association are valuable resources. Joining nursing specialty organizations or seeking certification in specific areas is prudent. For example, a nurse should consider joining the Emergency Nurses Association if she aspires to work in an emergency department. Nurses seeking to work in pediatrics, should consider becoming certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Having certifications can open doors and shows that the nurse has a genuine commitment to the area of specialization.
A Day in the Life of a Hospice Nurse
I work in a hospice house. My day begins by taking report from the night nurse. I then discuss the plan of the day with my CNA (Discover the difference: Medical Assistant vs CNA). We have seven patients today. I make rounds and assess my patients. If any patients are having pain or other symptoms, I take measures to relieve their discomfort. I provide emotional support for patients and their families. The medical director and I make rounds together. We evaluate patient’s responses to treatment and implement needed changes to the plan of care. I coordinate services with other members of the health care team. I administer medications, provide wound care, and assist the CNA to provide assistance with ADLS as needed. I document at least every two hours. Much of my day is spent providing education and emotional care about the dying process. If a patient dies, I provide care and emotional support. Admissions take a great deal of time. I give and receive support from my coworkers, as caring for dying patients and their families is emotionally hard. I experience satisfaction knowing that I have made my patients comfortable and facilitated family members’ abilities to grieve. At the end of the day, I give report to the oncoming nurse.
My Future in Nursing
I believe that as an experienced nurse, that I have a responsibility to pass my knowledge on to the next generation of caregivers. Writing gives me the greatest opportunity to share my knowledge, support other caregivers, and promote high levels of patient care.
I believe that no one health care system has “all the answers” and that we are at a time of great change in health care delivery. I would like to combine my expertise in natural health with my years of nursing experience to empower patients and caregivers.
The opportunities for nurses are vast. In addition to the soul satisfying components of the work, nursing offers practical advantages too. The salaries are improving, benefits are usually good, and flexibility in scheduling makes nursing a great option for people of all ages. It can be entered into rapidly. Nursing is one career that leads to many life paths.