It’s a commonly known fact about nurses that they put their own lives in danger in the way of serving and taking care of their patients. Apart from those primary duties, what else do the nurses do?
Nurses take care of a lot of other responsibilities that are not commonly associated with them.
In this article, we will look at some of the things that no one mentions when talking about nurses and what they do.
- Communication Skills
Nurses have to communicate with their employers, patients, families, staff, administration, and doctors all the time. This is an obvious fact, as in a hospital setting there is no getting around communicating with professionals performing different roles.
Most nurses adopt good communication skills while on the job, which means that nursing will make a good communicator out of you.
Even if you have been focusing on your communication skills during your time in the nursing college, the actual communication challenges and practice happens when you’re taking care of the patients.
As a nurse, you will frequently communicate information to the doctors, fill out patient charts, and put patient records in the electronic patient portals and systems.
- You will face racism or discrimination
Although healthcare professionals vow not to discriminate on any basis, including race, color, caste, religion, social status, or economic standing, but nurses still have to face and fight instances of racism and discrimination from time to time.
Healthcare, sadly, is not without its own fair share of racial and ethnic discrimination. Sometimes, a patient of color is discriminated against or someone on the staff with certain religious affiliations gets bullied for his beliefs.
These instances pose an ethical dilemma in nursing, which can limit one’s ability to provide care. Nurses are educated on their ethical responsibilities at the nursing school and supposed to strictly adhere to the principles of equal healthcare.
- Nursing is extremely demanding
There are misconceptions that role of the nurses is to administer medications or serve food to patients. In reality, nursing is much more demanding and nurses can also perform other health-related highly skilled tasks that sometimes the doctors delegate them.
They spend a major part of the shift on their feet, walking and running from patient to patient, ward to ward, floor to floor, and take out medicines and administer them to the patients.
Besides these, nurses also perform assistive duties to the patients, helping them walk, maintain posture, or sit up in their bed.
- Taking short power naps
Working shifts that span over 12 hours, nurses can tell you the true value of taking a full night’s rest. Often sleep deprived, nurses learn sneak a nap or two in the middle of the shift when they have absolutely nothing to do.
You can also let a colleague of yours on the staff to fill in for you for an hour or more, so you can get your snoozes in.
- Keeping emotions under control
A nurse’s job is not only physically demanding but also emotionally tiring. You get to see death, trauma, and pain on a daily basis.
This much exposure to pain and misery can easily take a toll on your mental and physical health unless you learn to keep your emotions under check.
A nurse doesn’t have the option of breaking down crying after witnessing a traumatic scene at the hospital. To administer proper care to their patients, they have to learn to command their emotional side.
On the other hand, however, nurses shouldn’t abandon compassion and empathy for the patients—these are indispensable traits for a nurse.
You have to draw a line between empathic and compassionate and getting attached to the patients.
- Your social and work-life will overlap
Shows like The Good Doctor or Grey’s Anatomy etc., accurately depict the lives of medical professionals, including those of the nurses, developing close bonds with their colleagues in the hospital. The result is that the boundary between their social and work life often get blurred.
Nurses have to spend hours in the hospital with their colleagues. Facing high stake situations together brings them closer.
- Be ready to learn from mistakes
Nursing is a profession with great responsibility because even a small mistake can bring dire consequences for the patients. Mistakes that are unintentional and result from honest miscalculations may be unavoidable, but they take a serious toll on your health and work.
But you should be ready to let go once you have learnt your lesson. Constanlty fretting about a mistake will make you commit more of them.
- You will be exposed to traumatic experiences
Witnessing death of a patient is part of the nursing profession, and no theoretical information can ready you for it. You can ace all your tests and nursing concepts, be well-versed in patient care, and learn to apply evidence-based practice in your service, but handling the death of a patient will shake you.
The only way you can learn to deal with them is to actually face them. Senior nurses can help out the fresh ones with their emotions and get past the trauma. Reach out to those in your staff that have been through such situations and confide in them your feelings; they will be able to guide you through it.
- You will develop a sense of humor
Even if you don’t have a sense of humor, you will develop a sense of humor and learn to take things lightly. Faced with difficult situations on a daily basis, working a stressful job, for extended working hours, humour can become a coping mechanism for a nurse to get past the difficult times.
Nursing is a versatile career. Even if you are a nursing student, there is a lot that you still might not know about the profession. Only nurses who have spent time on the workforce know the above-mentioned facts about nursing to be true. You will learn to be resilient, emotionally strong, and practice empathy and compassion toward your patients.