“Being a Nurse Means— Examining Why You
Want To Be a Nurse”
do you want to be a nurse?
This is an important
question to answer. Do you have what it takes to be a nurse? This is also an
important question to answer. You might have heard it said that to be a
nurse, you’ve got to have heart. Well that’s true along with brains, common
sense, good feet & a good back, a large bladder, and all of your five
senses. Some of these can be developed and will be! Do you possess these?
Check the qualities
below that you think a nurse should possess:
_____Self-Disciplined_____Motivated ____Critical Thinker
____Caring _____Competent _____Problem-Solver
*All of these should
be checked. There really are many more qualities that a nurse should
possess. But these are some that we will discuss in this module.
some qualities you thought of:
Being a nurse is one
of the most rewarding & meaningful careers that one can have. Nurses make a
difference in people’s lives by what they do and what they don’t do.
the meaning of the statements above:
Nurses have to be
committed not only to the program of study as a student but to usually
working twelve hour shifts, nights and holidays. Sure there are jobs that do
not require this but that may very well be your starting place for some
time. It takes commitment to be willing to do that.
Even though some
nurses are making a decent salary, money as a primary motivation won’t last.
Because there will always be someone out there who is making a little bit
more money. And there are some things that you will experience as a nurse
that there is not enough money for! (may involve feces, gas, mucus or
Nurses are committed
to “go the extra mile”. Everyone does not get to leave just because the
shift is over. Are you willing to go the extra mile for your patient? Are
you willing to help that classmate out who is lagging behind in finishing
the patient care? Are you willing to just hold your patient’s hand because
there is nothing else that can be done? Are you willing to comfort a family
with just a hug when words are hard to come by?
as scale of one to ten------what is your commitment rating to patients
and to the program of study?
If you rate yourself
less than a 9, you might need to discuss your future of being permanently on
the night shift with your family because you may not advance in your career.
(No offense intended to nurses who choose the nightshift!).
If your rating was 9
or better then you may possess that caring attitude that the
profession of nursing requires. Have you seen folks who just did not care?
Patients can pick up on this quick. If you are not a “people person” you may
find that you dread clinical. A nurse has to be caring. Instructors can pick
up on a non-caring attitude too. Some students can appear unconcerned about
their learning. They just want to know—will this be on the test? You want to
demonstrate that attitude of caring to your patients and to your instructor.
one do this?___________________________
Make Eye Contact, Keep Yourself
Busy, Show Your Preparation by Being Ready to Talk About It , Ask questions,
Appear Interested with your non-verbal expressions, and Put Some Pep in Your
So if you are
committed and care about your learning and don’t want these comments to
refer to you, then make sure that you demonstrate that attitude of
commitment & caring towards patients and your learning.
Just what kind of
nurse do you want to be? A registered nurse? Have you thought about being a
safe, qualified, skilled, competent registered nurse? Hopefully so!
To be competent you
must use reasoning and common sense in your actions. Instructors are looking
for this quality. Competent nurses do not go about their actions in a rote
or mechanical way. Proficient nursing care calls for “critical thinking
skills”. How does your school define critical
The definition of
critical thinking in a lot of schools is related to the nursing process.
The nursing process is also defined as a systematic way to problem solve
which when written out becomes a clinical paper, a care plan, a care map, or
a clinical pathway. Regardless the idea of critical thinking is a method of
delivering safe nursing care. Similar to the nursing process, critical
thinking is purposeful, goal directed, making judgments based on evidence of
the facts and is based on scientific principles. In other words, nursing
students need to ask themselves: what do I see that is wrong or a problem,
why is this occurring, how is this occurring, what else could happen, what
if I did this? Thinking critically can help reduce errors in nursing. When
studying you need to ask yourself the same questions because this is how you
are going to be “going deeper with the content that you are attempting to
The first step in
critical thinking is to build a foundation of knowledge that can eventually
be applied in clinical situations. To build that foundation of knowledge and
to develop clinical reasoning, you must devote time to study and to your way
of thinking. Nursing requires not only the learning of facts and procedures
but learning how to evaluate each unique patient situation.
The focus of your
learning is not just memorization of facts and rote learning but you must
develop a thorough understanding of the material. You are constructing a
foundation to support your critical thinking & clinical decision making as
your knowledge of theory and clinical experience increases. Some might even
refer to this construction of knowledge based on practice as evidence based
practice. That is the end result of critical thinking.
As a beginning
nursing student, you will be asked the critical thinking questions by your
instructor---why, how, what else, what if. Welcome these questions don’t be
intimidated by them. And if you are not asked by the instructor ask them of
______It is good for
my instructor to ask me questions and put me on the spot?
Why or why not?
There are several
techniques by which nursing schools use to help nursing students become
critical thinkers. Which of these techniques have
you seen used so far in your nursing program?
In conferences you will verbalize what you think about your patient’s
condition, what you will do about it and give a rationale. (All of this is
in front of your classmates---whew---aren’t you glad you had speech?)
Review of Case
Studies or Patient Situations: Using a situation approach makes you
reason, interpret, and identify evidence regarding your patient. Written
assignments require you to organize, prioritize, and integrate information
about a case study.
Learning: CAI programs especially interactive programs enhance and
challenge critical thinking skills. In addition some instructors believe
these programs will help prepare you to answer computerized NCLEX-RN®
bad as I hate to admit this, examinations are learning opportunities. I
once disagreed with a professor who told me this profound fact. All
examinations should be thoughtfully reviewed from the critical thinking
angle. When reviewing exams be willing to listen to the instructor’s
interpretation of the questions and the distracters. If all of your energy
is spend defending your response, your mind will not be open to this
different perspective and your learning will be limited to your
perspective. Who is the teacher here?? What is the goal of reviewing the
other methods of incorporating critical thinking into the curriculum that
the faculty has done in your nursing program. Hint: Games can count.
The process behind
nursing practice requires a different way of thinking which develops into a
second nature way of thinking. A one tract mind will not survive in nursing.
You must develop the ability to keep multiple patients, multiple conditions
& assessments in mind all while planning what to do next for every patient.
Assessment is carried out every time the patient is seen. For the nurse, it
becomes as natural as breathing.
Do you have a goal of
becoming a critical thinker?
makes a nurse qualified to give nursing care? What makes you qualified?
one become competent?
How can a
nurse show the patient (client) an attitude of caring?
have been overheard saying:
“If I catch that
student just standing there with their hands in their pockets one more time
“I feel like I am
pushing a wet noodle.”
“That student is
moving in sloooow motion.”
“I have to drag it
out of them in conference.” “It’s like pulling teeth.”
“I don’t know but I
will go and look it up and find out.”
Check out these
Health Careers http:www.mshealthcareers.com
Take the assessment test! After you find out
you are suited for a health career; click on Healthcare Careers then nursing
and you will find information about the field of nursing.
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