6 Valuable Nursing Lessons Learned On the Job
Every patient/nurse relationship is different and every interaction with a patient has the ability to teach you new skills, a greater sense of empathy or simply that there is no substitute for a kind touch or a listening ear. We asked our community of nurses on Facebook what nursing lessons they have found most valuable throughout their careers and now we want to share those lessons with you.
1. Act as though the patient is family.
• “Treat your patient the way you would want your family to be treated if they were in the same position!" – Shawn K.
• “Act as though every patient is the person you love the most.” – Linda O.
• “Treat your patient as if they are your own friends or family because they are someone’s friends and family.” – Cindy G.
• “The patient could be your family member. Think, protect and act accordingly.” – Heather D.
2. Trust your instincts.
• “Definitely trust your instincts! I have saved many patients with those instincts!” – Pam D.
• “Always listen and follow your gut instinct. It's almost always right!” Trisha N.
• “If something does not feel right, it probably is NOT right. Speak up.” – Megan M.
3. Never underestimate the power of listening.
• “Listen to what your patients and their bodies are telling you.” – Lynn J.
• “Observe and listen. Look at the big picture during assessments. Ask about their job, what they like to do, their eating habits and over the counter drug use. You would be surprised what you can learn about your patient.”
• “Listen to the parents, they know their child the best! They are their biggest advocates!” – Mary H.
• “Always be kind and take time to listen. Many times people are afraid and act out.” – Judy F.
4. Let your patient know they are your priority.
• “Tell each patient that they are the reason you come to work and to call on you for assistance because you have the time for them.” – Kay M.
• “The value of human contact/touch! There is a lot to be said for the value of simply holding someone's hand.” – Ashley R.
• “No matter what, be there for your patient.” – Marcia R.
• “Treat the patient as an individual so they feel like they are the most important at that time.” – Sue K.
5. Don’t make assumptions.
• “There is always more to learn. Never assume and always ask questions. Remember the patient came for help, not for a hard time. If you say you're going to do something, make sure you follow through.” – Callie P.
• “Never assume anything and always ask questions, especially when there's doubt. Also remember that if it wasn't charted, it was never done.” – Laura R.
• “Do not judge a book by its cover.” Joyce L.
• “Don’t judge your patient and don’t listen to those who do. There are many roads and many paths.” – Lisa D.
6. Ask questions. Learning doesn’t stop after graduation.
• “Never stop learning or wanting to learn.” – Seffron B.
• “Always look up drugs you are not familiar with before giving to a patient. It can save you from a mistake in delivery.” – Darlene S.
• “Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.” – Haley F.
• “It’s okay not to know but something, but if you don’t know, ask.” – Callie P.
Whether asking another nurse when you’re uncertain about administering a new medication or simply making sure the teenager whose temperature you are taking is aware that they are your priority, implementing these lessons can not only have a huge impact on your patients, but on yourself as well.
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