There are many reasons to become a nurse. Nursing is an honorable profession, filled with selflessness, determination, and passion. Nurses are the heart and soul of the healthcare system. If you’re a patient, nurses are the face of administering and evaluating your treatment and are your greatest advocate. The nursing shortage is still prominent in the healthcare system so jobs are always present and the job itself is rewarding in the most remarkable ways at the least expected times. Nurses provide invaluable emotional support, the kind that helps one understand that nursing is a true calling.
Nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding position consisting of 12-hour shift cycles on the feet. Nurses give up holidays with their families and work through nights and weekends providing commitment and dedication to the patients and patient families they serve. This writers’ nursing passion started from an early age and through study at 15 a Nursing Assistant Certification was obtained. However, there was so much still not understood. There still is so much that is not understood, therefore the hunt for knowledge never slowed. Since obtaining the CNA this writer has worked in nursing home settings, in home care settings, on a med surge floor, an ER unit, the lab, in therapy, with trachs and vents, quadriplegics, critical care, and most recently as a CCHT in dialysis. So much knowledge has been gained over these last 10 years, the things that have been shown and learned have been incredible but the hunt for knowledge still lingers.
The want to learn more, to see more, and to do more. This writer dreams of being a nurse; and whether its today, 2 years from now, or even 10 years from now that dream will one day become a reality for this writer.Nursing as a ProfessionWhen hearing the term nursing professional does the thought of someone who really has their act together come to mind? Are they punctual? Reliable? Responsible? Or motivated? The professional nurse is accountable, detail orientated, and the closest thing to a superhero on this planet. There are so many components that make up the heart and soul of a professional nurse, but what is a profession or a professional? A profession is made up of self-controlled people who follow ethical or core principle values that they deem right and honorable.
These people have knowledge and skills that come from research, education, trial and error, training, and time on the job. While being led by a code of ethics, and vows of integrity, selflessness, and the want to do good. Professionals are responsible to society and those they serve. They are held to higher standard and are looked upon for guidance and relief from other peers and coworkers either in the work place setting or in the community. (Professional Standards Councils, n.d.). Having a profession and being a professional isn’t a 9 to 5 job. It’s a way of life. It is the way of handling oneself as a nurse in the best possible way imaginable. Whether it be getting stopped on the side of the road by a patient recently treated or still getting treatment. It is the way of rising above when dealing with those difficult situations that makes most people want to hide and cry. It is also the way of holding oneself to the highest possible standard when faced with challenges one never thought possible. All while putting others wants and needs above everything. Being a professional nurse is a calling and is not for the faint hearted.
According to The Office of the Reservoir of Statues here in Minnesota: “The practice of professional nursing means the performance, with or without compensation, of those services that incorporates caring for all patients in all settings through nursing standards recognized by the board…” (subdivision 15). Therefore, being recognized as a nurse whether on the job and compensated or off the job and on the street. Being a professional nurse means caring for all those in need of care no matter the circumstances of the client. As you can see it’s not as simple as this trait or that trait which makes a professional nurse, professional. It’s a combination of many traits, skills, knowledge, understanding and doing the best you can each and every day to manage all of them at the same time in a critical situations that make up the heart and soul of a professional nurse. All nurses should strive to achieve this goal during the duration of their careers as a professional nurses. Past, Present, and FutureNursing began as a ‘helping’ profession, often undertaken by nuns during wartime. Florence Nightingale is most remembered as an innovator of nursing and a reformer of hospital sanitation techniques.
Nightingale pushed for the reform of the British military health-care system and gained respect for the nursing profession in doing so. She used new techniques of statistical analysis, in the Crimean War where she plotted the occurrence of preventable deaths in the military. She developed the “Environment Theory” to exaggerate the countless deaths caused by unsanitary conditions along with the need for reform. With her investigation, Florence Nightingale developed the idea that social phenomena could be objectively measured and subjected to mathematical analysis. She was a visionary in the collection, organization, interpretation, and display of descriptive statistics. She set the stage for nursing by reaching for goals only she thought were possible. She is the reason we have a future in nursing.
Most importantly she is the reason females have a future in nursing. Most Victorian women of her age in that time did not attend universities or pursue professional careers. If not for her father William Nightingale, and his want for an education for his children, nursing as a whole may not be what it is today (Audain, n.d.)Since the time of Florence Nightingale leading into the present-day, nursing has evolved from a notably masculine profession to a nearly complete female workforce. Even the view most people regardless of religion have of the nursing profession dictates that of a woman dressed in white resembling that of an angel in a sense. In todays society some men now depict criticism for pursuing careers in nursing, when in the day of Florence Nightingale nursing was a completely masculine field. It has come to be known as an extremely honorable and highly thought of profession. A profession in which men and women alike can be proud of. Many technological advances have been made since the “Environment Theory” from Florence Nightingale has come to light including but not limited to aseptic techniques, vaccinations, disease prevention and treatment, diagnoses, theories, concepts, the application of care, education etc. Nursing is a continuously innovative field of study, making notable strides into the future. With modern medicine advancing in leaps and bounds it’s hard to know exactly where these advances will take nurses. While it is known nurses will always be a necessary part of the healthcare system, the thought may have crossed the mind whether or not the position will become completely flooded or for many LPN’s obsolete over the course of your career.
An article in The Nightingale from Angeles Institute, LLC sheds light on the subject by giving us a glimpse of what we should anticipate in our future. According to Alicia Robinson:Over the next 20 years, it is projected that the nursing shortage will only get worse as the Baby Boomer generation, the largest concentration of older adults, reaches retirement age. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that between 2014 and 2022, more than a million vacancies will be waiting to be filled for registered nursing positions. What is alarming is that experts are fearing that by 2025, the United States will experience a shortfall of nurses that will be, at minimum, twice as large as any previous shortage (Robinson, 2016). Based on this information you should be relieved to know the need for nurses will still be in high demand for many years to come, more so even than one may have thought with Robinsons’ prediction. A shortage of this magnitude gives hope to those aspiring RN’s, this writer included, who are trying to make it through the stages of the program to reach that ending RN goal. However, the question, where do LPN’S fall into the spectrum, may still cross your mind. For this specific question one should keep in mind how long we have heard about the LPN downfall, the cost of paying 4-year RN’s, 2 year RN’s, and LPN’s in small towns, and the fact that going back to school to obtain your RN is always an option. The future of nurses will continuously be in high demand for the obvious reason that sickness never stops. As long as the population continues to combat disease nursing will continue to thrive.An aspiration of this writer’s future has always been to be a travel nurse. Nothing peaks this writers’ interest quite like the thought of traveling the world helping those that cannot help themselves. The culture, the people, the experience, and let’s not forget the pay all play a part in why travel nursing has played a major role in this writer’s future plans as a nurse and the nursing plans of many others. The downside for many would have to be the scheduling. Referred to as flexible, it gives open interpretation to the term. However, being ‘flexible’ has always given this writer a sense of satisfaction. A sense of need. Floating is something this writer is used to since it was done frequently in previous jobs. According to an article titled, Understanding Your Travel Nursing Schedule, by Crystal Gustafson, RN; flexibility might actually be the key to success in the travel nursing field. She states:Being flexible and adapting to a constantly changing environment is what being a travel nurse is all about.
Companies choose to hire us because they know they can count on a travel nurse to get the job done on short notice and a small amount of preparation. Understanding what is expected of you and coming to your travel assignment prepared mentally, emotionally, physically and financially sound are all important aspects of being an experienced and well-traveled travel nurse. (Gustafson, 2014). Although many can agree with Crystal’s statement, something some might feel she lacks in her testimonial is knowledge and understanding of specific policies and procedures brought forth by different institutions. Some institutions’ guidelines and protocols can vary greatly from facility to facility. What might be common in the North many not always be common in the South, etc. It is important to go over your institutions’ specific requirements and protocols before providing care in that specific facility. Distinguishing Nationwide from Statewide regulations along with institution-based guidelines are key in nursing success which leads me in to our final topic.Evidence Based ResearchCrucial to medical success and constantly evolving, Evidence Based Research is what most consider the ‘backbone’ of the medical field today. It sets the ‘stage’ if you will for the scope of care we as nurses provide to our patients. An overview from the Duke University Medical Center, defines that: “EBP is ‘the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.”’ Quoted by Sackett D, 1996 (Duke University Medical Center, 2018).
It’s as simple as asking why. Why is this the guideline? Why is this what is deemed the best? Why does this cause this effect? We need something to answer the why. Evidence based research answers the why. It gives factual basis to aid in the determination of how nursing should evolve and prosper. Without evidence-based research nursing guidelines would be determined based off opinions and trial and error, which yes, in a sense trial and error are fundamental components to evidence-based research, but to what extent? How long would it take to determine all that we have learned and how many lives would be lost in the process if we still relied solely on trial and error? Evidence-based research eliminates the need to waste extra time, effort, and resources that medical professionals rarely have in critical situations.Paired with critical thinking, Evidence Based Research paves the way for future nursing. It shows us where we’ve been and sheds light on where we need to go. Critical thinking, defined on page 5 of Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning, and Clinical Judgement: A Practical Approach by Rosalinda Alfaro-LeFevre indicates, “Critical thinking is a complex process that changes depending on context… critical thinking requires you to ‘personalize’ information-to analyze it and decide what it means to you rather than simply memorizing someone else’s words” (Alfaro-LeFevre, 2017, p.5). That right there is how discoveries are made, diseases are cured, and treatment continues to be ongoing.
Just like in the case of Florence Nightingale so many years ago, having the ability to put one’s own complex understanding of something into action is one of the biggest success factors that someone will have in future nursing. Being able to expand the mind, thinking critically could break medical barriers that no one else could changing and shaping the future of nursing. It’s when we deem the impossible, possible that we can truly accomplish the unthinkable.ConclusionNursing and the medical field as a whole are rapidly evolving, because of this; scope and standards of practice evolve just as well to conform to medical needs and relevance. Many contributing factors play in to making this happen, for instance; history in the field helps build knowledge and understanding, professionalism sets the standard for nursing as a whole, envisioning nursing in the future while honoring nursing’s past keeps medical advances prominent, and evidence based research and critical thinking keep us focused on where we’ve been and where we need to go.
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