Lifelong Learning and Essential Qualities in Nursing: Coat of Arms Assignment

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A Coat of Arms is a historical representation of a variety of cultural meanings, which may include person, family or organization. A Coat of Arms visually appears as a shield with individualized components, such as musical instruments, animals and flags to demonstrate each unique identity. In this paper, the Coat of Arms is described to represent the qualities important to the nursing profession. These qualities include empathy, knowledge, patience, respect, cooperation and perseverance.

Specifically on the Coat of Arms, there are symbols used to represent the essential qualities of the nursing career. Empathy is represented as a “shoe” to demonstrate validating a person’s experience, also known as ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’. It is understanding the point of view of others to share emotions. The quality of knowledge is represented as a “tree”. This is due to the reason that trees are known to continuously grow, in the same way that new information can be learned. Perseverance is reflected by the image of “pushing a boulder”. Boulders signify an obstacle to overcome in a tough situation. Perseverance is illustrated as pushing a boulder, as it demonstrates the act of determination through hardship. The quality of cooperation is represented by a puzzle piece as both illustrate the dependence on other parts or people in harmony to complete tasks. Respect is shown by the symbol of a handshake, as it showcases positive embrace of one towards another, while building trust and safety. It is placed in the middle to signify a connection between both parties. The quality of being honest is shown as a balance scale to showcase fairness. Honesty is placed in the middle, as it maintains the stability of all other qualities in the Coat of Arms by ensuring that it all remains balanced.

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The qualities of empathy, knowledge and perseverance will be further analyzed in the following sections. Empathy is an important nursing quality, as its existence can lead patients to believe their experiences are supported and heard. Understanding how patients feel in times of misfortune is considered to be beneficial in alleviating misery or anguish through the awareness of how to respond appropriately to others. However, empathy does not solely have an advantageous influence on patients, but also carries an impact for the nurse caring for them. Empathy is important to the nursing profession, as it includes lower rates of burnout in the workplace. According to Hunt, Denieffe & Gooney (2017), a study determined a correlation between empathetic engagement and lower rates of burnout (p. 7). Three of the five studies reported nurses having lower scores of burnout and higher cognitive empathy (Hunt, Denieffe & Gooney, 2017, p. 14). This demonstrates that decreased fatigue from nurses equates to nurses being more inclined to engage in gaining insight on patient experiences and is recommended. The relationship indicates that the quality of empathy is a crucial trait in nursing as it supports both the patient in feeling understood and the nurse in times of exhaustion such as burnout.

The quality of perseverance is important to the nursing profession as it allows for the strength to continue past difficulties encountered in the workplace in order to adapt. As a nurse, the quality of perseverance influences the amount of stress that can be endured, which ultimately affects the outcome of how patients are cared for. Perseverance ensures the nurse is able to face various demanding situations and understands how to cope with challenges to reach nursing and patient goals. Tyer-Viola (2019) noted that nurses working through emergency situations such as hurricanes often had a lack of necessary equipment but continued to remain resilient despite harsh circumstances (p. 201). This demonstrates that in traumatic events such as natural disasters, nurses continue with the ability to cope with abrupt changes for clinical success in patient outcomes through perseverance despite crisis. The quality of perseverance is important to nursing practice, as it is related to facing adversity in various circumstances, but choosing to continue with determination to arrive with solutions to solve a wide range of difficulties.

The trait of knowledge is necessary in the nursing profession as it has an influence on lifelong learning. The importance of being knowledgeable has the capability of improving the quality of patient care through continuously gaining insight on various circumstances. Through lifelong learning, nurses are able to understand the value of acquiring knowledge and not remaining stagnant regarding obtaining new information on healthcare. A study by Davis, Taylor & Taylor (2014) found lifelong learning as being essential to developing new perspectives through constant reflection in order to provide exceptional care (p. 444). Nurses constantly gain new insight from different patients and situations which is contributed to gaining knowledge. This illustrates the proposition that through the continuous advancement of knowledge in healthcare, lifelong learning would be crucial for nurses to provide quality care to obtain nursing and patient goals.

This assignment has further led me to understand the significant qualities of nurses that carry importance to the profession. For instance, when expanding on the quality of perseverance, I was made aware of the importance of overcoming obstacles on a regular basis in order to be successful as a nurse. This was possible through reading the literature about nurses working through natural disasters to continue providing care, that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Through this assignment I was able to gain an understanding on various qualities crucial to nursing.

However, in the process of creating the assignment, there was a component that I disapproved of while working with my group. For instance when creating the template, only one member chose the placement of the symbols on the template rather than it being a group effort. I would rather everyone participate in their own original Coat of Arms design comparatively than creating sole template. I believe this would be more effective, as all group members would understand the meaning to why the symbols were placed in their designated area on the template through individual discretion. To improve for next time, I would continue with all group members deciding on the meanings of the qualities and symbols together, although I would consider having each member create separate templates to interpret the design placements differently. This would lead to more creative and diverse views on the placements of the symbols, while all members are able to participate in the creation of the design and express their perceptions individually.

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