No matter where you work or what your specialty is, your core duty as a nurse remains the same: Provide quality care to your patients. While providing bedside care is a big part of what you do, though, it is not the only aspect of nursing that you need to be mindful of. There are charts to fill out, medical histories to obtain, medications to administer, tests to perform, and much, much more.
A lot goes into patient care, and if you are not mindful of what you are doing, your performance could suffer. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enhance your performance on the job. From forming interpersonal relationships to wearing stylish Infinity modern scrubs with plenty of pockets, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your performance as a nurse and meet all your professional goals.
Dress for Success
You have probably heard the adage “dress for success” plenty of times throughout your career. While it is often associated with things like dressing appropriately for job interviews, this bit of advice is helpful when it comes to your day-to-day attire, too. If you are going to work wearing old, worn-out scrubs that don’t make you feel confident or scrubs that lack the pocket space to hold all of your gear, maximizing your performance will be nearly impossible.
When you wear nice scrubs to work, it makes you look good and feel great. It instills a sense of confidence that inspires confidence in your patients and colleagues, too. And if you are finding yourself constantly searching for your phone, notepad, pen, or other supplies, adding Infinity Scrub jackets to your wardrobe can help you be better prepared for whatever the day might throw at you.
Be People-Oriented Not Task-Oriented
Many nurses get so caught up in being task-oriented that they forget the importance of being people-oriented. When you have several tasks to complete in a short period of time, it is easy to get focused on having to hang an IV and update a patient’s chart, etc. and forget about connecting with the patients in your care. Sure, you might ask them how they are doing when you enter their room to complete a task, but are you really focusing your attention on them?
When entering a patient’s room, greet them by name and let them know why you are there. Look them in the eyes and, if you need to provide instructions or gather information, sit down while doing so. Eye contact and sitting down so you are at eye level with the patient both improve communication. Before you leave, always check to make sure the patient doesn’t need anything else.
The human brain responds better to set deadlines and goals than working randomly. While it is important to remain patient-oriented rather than task-oriented, it is still a good idea to set goals for yourself, including small daily goals as well as larger goals related to your career.
At the beginning of your shift, determine your goals for the day. Then, work toward them. Take the time to sit down and figure out your future goals, too. Where would you like to see your career go? Are you happy with what you are doing now, or would you like to work as a nursing instructor or traveling nurse? Figure out your long-term goals, and then break them down into smaller steps. Having both small and large goals to work toward gives your brain something to focus on and makes you a better nurse.
Make Communication a Priority
Being a good nurse requires excellent clinical and communication skills. If you are currently lacking in the communication department, taking steps to improve will enhance your overall job performance.
When communicating with patients, be mindful of your body language. Sometimes, the way you say something says just as much as your words! Approach patients calmly and in a friendly manner. Try to form a connection by gently touching the patient’s bed or smiling, even if you’re wearing a mask.
Learn to communicate effectively with your colleagues, too. Explain things with clarity, and ask to-the-point questions. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t tiptoe around the subject – even if it is awkward. Speak with confidence and assertiveness, but be polite. It takes some practice, but becoming an effective communicator will help you in all aspects of your career.
Take Care of Yourself
If you want to properly care for your patients, you need to care for yourself. If your health is suffering, it is simply impossible to deliver high-quality care to your patients. Working in healthcare is demanding, though, and it can be hard to make time for yourself. At the end of the day, though, it is vital to manage your health and try to relax.
Make sure you are getting enough rest each night. Commit to eating healthy meals, too. If you normally skip lunch or grab takeout and a soda for lunch, start bringing healthy lunches from home and ditching the sugary drinks for water. As a nurse, you know that fueling up on the right nutrients is important. Take your own advice and get serious about eating/drinking healthier.
Never Stop Learning
Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate from nursing school. It doesn’t end once you’ve mastered the policies of the facility where you work, either. As a nurse, you should always be learning. Medical advances happen every day, and it’s up to you to stay on top of them and deliver the best and most up-to-date care to your patients.
Consider taking courses to earn additional degrees or certifications. Your employer may even be willing to help with the cost. The more you know, the better you can care for your patients. Also, furthering your education provides you with new career opportunities. When it comes to being the best nurse you can be, on-going education is crucial. There are, of course, always opportunities to learn how to improve your performance as a nurse, too!