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Journey Paper, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1472

Essay

My journey began many years ago, when I undertook my studies for my Associated Degree of Nursing (ADN), from which I graduated at the tender age of 22. When I made the transition from being a student nurse to a licensed ADN working nurse, I began discovering various things that were not taught in school.  I discovered the difference between the ideal, which we were taught in school, to the real, which is the workplace situation.  The number of patients we were assigned in the workplace were often significantly more than we had as students.  With the shortage of nurses and of the nursing budget, we did not always have the luxury of taking sufficient time to make washing, dressing,  grooming, and talking with the patients an enjoyable experience for them.We seemed to get to know our patients better while we were students.  Nonetheless, I never forgot that the patients were the reason that there were nurses and that they deserved the best and kindest care possible.  I soon learned to work faster and more efficiently, to prioritize better, and to walk that fine line of carrying out a large load of duties while not neglecting my patients.  I found some time—even if only for a few minutes—to chat with them each day and to listen to their concerns; and this I do to this day.  I made it a point to get to know—and to help when needed—staff on the lower rungs and the upper rungs of the ladder; and this often paid excellent dividends.

After six months, my manager gave me the opportunity of becoming a charge nurse on my unit, which was a busy 30 bed unit that included multiple types of patients with medical, surgical, GI, pulmonary, and oncology issues.  This increased my familiarity with managerial positions and enabled me to conceptualize different ways and methods of working as a team.

At first, this responsibility was overwhelming, but with time I got the grasp of it and understood how to handle the older nurses’issues and problems. I realized that although they did not want to take instructions from a 22 year old with six months experience, neither did they want the extra work and stress of a charge nurse.  I grew thicker skin, which helped quite a bit.  I learned to be more assertive.  I came across a very comprehensive and most helpful book by Jean Baer (1976) in this regard and carried out the many various exercises that it contained.   This book also helped me to understand that under the best of circumstances one cannot please everyone, nor should one try; and this would hold especially true in jobs such as a charge nurse where one is not always going to be liked by one’s peers.  Nevertheless, I kept trying my best.  For instance, I implemented new methods and ways of handling the complaints of my peers with regard to patient assignments and other issues.

Professionally, I was very engrossed in learning new clinical skills and asked a lot of questions.  Some students and employees are afraid to ask questions just in case they are considered to be dumb questions and respect for the questioner takes a dive.  It has been said that there is no such thing as a dumb question.  RandolfReifsnider (August 15, 2012) says that

“asking the ‘dumb’ question is an opportunity to learn; to exercise quality control; and to ask the questions that others may be afraid to ask, but should.”

There were moments when I was so overwhelmed that I was crying in the bathroom.  These usually happened when we were short staffed, and I had to juggle a full assignment load along with being in charge.  However, I felt that this made me an even stronger person and taught me to prioritize better.  At that time I was not thinking of going back to school, thinking that since I was young I could always go back later.  So as time went on, I kept finding myself in charge role positions, but this was something I did not want to do for much longer.

Now, looking back on my 17 years of nursing, I can see that I have achieved the self-confidence to say that my self-image is different today.  In the diverse new nursing world, I managed to learn many new things that built my self-confidence in my skills of clinical nursing and a way of making decisions in the workplace.  Nursing is a great profession as there are so many areas of nursing to choose from.  Also, nurses have great flexibility with their work schedule, being able to choose between working twelve hour shifts three days a week or eight-hour shifts five days a week.  While those choices and the work flexibility are great benefits, I think the most important aspect of nursing is helping people on a daily basis.  During the past 17 years that I have worked as a nurse, I have found it to be a very rewarding profession.  I have learned so much and grown as a person.

Houston Texas has the largest medical center in the US.  However, even though I grew up there and realized at the time of the nursing shortage that nurses were very much needed, I did not go straight into nursing out of high school.  Instead, I pursued another dream.  After a great deal of hard work and practice, I was able to play on the professional tennis tour.  Unfortunately, after approximately a year, my dream was shattered due to a severe shoulder injury.  After much thought I decided to satisfy my second obsession—nursing.  I had always had an interest in medicine and wanted to understand how and why everything in the body worked.

To me the essence of nursing is reflected in the American Nursing Associations’ (ANA) definition of nursing which says that  the fundamental job of any nurse is to help people to their optimal health, to help them prevent illness or injury, and to alleviate suffering (ANA, Professional Nursing Practice, 20122).  Therefore, when I am on the job, I am there to help my patients and my families to achieve their best possible lives.

Being a nurse also entails having high ethical standards.  It is up to me, as a nurse, to ensure that the patients’ dignity and privacy are protected; that they are treated with respect and consideration; and that they receive the best possible care for their situation.  I find the ANA’s Code of Ethics to be both useful and valuable.  However, one particular sentence in it strikes home to me; namely that “the nurse’s primary commitment is to the health, well-being, and safety of the patient across the life span and in all settings in which health care needs are addressed”(ANA nursing code of ethics section 3.5,2010).

When I first began studying the RN to BSN I found it a bit overwhelming because I had been out of school for a long time.  As well, I feared studying online.  I have learned to structure my time wisely.  Furthermore, now that I am almost finished my BSN online, I am pleased that I did it that way due to the flexibility it provided and the enhancement of my computer skills.

As I was setting my goals for the RN – BSN program, and again for the five and ten years, I used the S.M.A.R.T. guide.  The S stands for specific; the M for measureable; the A for attainable; the R for realistic; and the T for timely.  These goals should be written down and checked from time to time to see if one is on track. (Arina, February 20, 2010).

My plans are to finish my BSN this year and to enroll in a Family Nurse Practitioner

Program in 2013, and to finishit  by January 2015.  To accomplish these goals, I plan on working hard and being disciplined with my time management.  Furthermore, in the last year of my Family Nurse Practitioner Program, I plan on only working part-time so that I can finish the clinical portion of the program by January 2015.  Upon completion of the program, I plan on working in a clinical setting or possibly as a Hospice Family Nurse Practitioner, which I plan on doing for the subsequent five and ten years and beyond.

References

American Nursing Association (ANA). (2010). Nursing code of ethics.  American Nursing Association Website.  Retrieved on October 12, 2012, from http://www.nursingworld.org/mainmenucategories/codeofethicsfornurses/codeofethics.aspx.

American Nursing Association (ANA).  (2011).  Professional nursing practice. American Nursing Association Website.  Retrieved on October 12, 2012, from http://www.Nursingworld.org/mainmenucategories/thepracticeofprofessionalnursing.aspx.

Baer, J.  (1976).  How to be an assertive (not aggressive) woman in life, in love, and on the job.New American Library:  New York, New York.

Arison. (February 20, 2010).  Goal Setting Guide.  Smart goal setting:  A surefire way to achieve your goals. Retrieved on October 12, 2012, from http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/goal-setting-tu.

Reifsnider, R.  (August 15, 2012).  The value of dumb questions.  Retrieved on October 12, 2012, from http:///w.conspectusinc.com/blog/2012.08/the-y.

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