Most people go to work, sit in a desk or teach a classroom, doing what their job description says. Not nurses. Many nurses go above and beyond what their job descriptions say. Going above and beyond is not just staying all night to make sure a patient makes it through another night, or coming early because you know a certain patient is always awake before rounds and needs your help. For this paper, the terms of above and beyond stretch further than just what you physically do for your patients. It stretches to the emotional and mental support provided by these people. The real question that nurses are faced with daily is “Is that even your job?”. One may wonder is that their job? Not necessarily so, but research done by a team of Doctors sponsored by Medscape.com proves that 96% of nurses feel that they had a responsibility to help patients prepare for the end of their lives. But then again, 72% said they felt uncomfortable giving bad news to the patient and/or families (McLennon et. al, 2013). As one may realize, there are nurses strongly on both sides. Both of these percentages are obviously on the majority side of things. The real question is which is right? Which majority is correct? Significance
This is a worldwide dilemma that affects every person out there, unless somehow you manage never to go to a hospital, which probably won’t ever happen. With the realization of this dilemma, there will be a significant breakthrough in patient care. Realizing there is a problem will require extra classes to be added to the curriculum involving how to handle these problems, so that healthcare professionals, especially nurses will know how to handle these situations. Investigation
Over the past few decades, there has been a growing concern that nurses may not be applicable communicators due to lack of education (Chant, Simon et. al, 2002). This lack of education of how to communicate with patients must be fixed and fast. These qualities in the nurses must be educated because, according to Registered nurse Francine Parker, “A nurse’s knowledge and skill are important forces that can contribute to the power to influence patient care in an ethical manner” (Parker, 2007). The inability to communicate with patients in ethical, morally correct behaviors is important with any patient nurse relationship. Although one may think that communication is only verbal, that is wrong. Communication between patients and nurses requires “sending and receiving messages using a mixture of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills” (McCabe, 2003). Being able to successfully communicate with your patient can make for better patient outcomes. If a patient trust their nurses, they are more likely to tell them when something is wrong.
For example, after certain surgeries, in order to be discharged, you must eliminate waste from your body to prove that the surgery was effective. If a patient feels comfortable with the nurse, the patient will feel safe telling the doctor about this. Most people know that this is not something one feels very comfortable talking about publically. This healthy relationship between the nurse and patient will allow the patient to feel comfortable when talking about this quite touchy and gross subject. So the real question emerges, is that even your job? Technically, no; being present for someone on emotional terms is not in a nurse’s job description. Dr. Tesfanicael Gehbrehiwet indicated that “a nurse’s professional responsibilities can result in ethical dilemmas” (Gehbrehiwet, 2005). A nurse must administer different medicines, treat car accidents, heart attacks, and other various minor accidents, talk with other healthcare officials, and perform different medical tests.
With this one may wonder when it is okay for a nurse to go above and beyond these standards set before them. Although there is no defining barrier between right and wrong at this point, it is just up to the nurses. A study done by the Medscape research team proved that a “physician’s avoidance of discussing or clarifying end-of-life issues places the nurses, patients, and families in unnecessarily distressing positions” (McLennon, et. al, 2013). Some nurses may not feel as distressed by this situation while others may find this to be a huge stressor in their lives (Ulrich et al., 2010). Presentation Goals
As I have indicated above, there is truly no barrier between right and wrong in any field of study, except for maybe math, but even then there are variables. The nurse must be able to decide if he/she will communicate with the patient on emotional, personal terms or not. Personally, I feel that the nurse should communicate on personal, emotional terms, but I know from experience that others feel differently about this situation at hand. In my presentation, I plan to clearly show how it is both positive and negative for a nurse to be involved with a patient. So I leave you with this question, would you want a nurse to emotionally connect with your mother or father while they were on their death bed, making their end-of-life circumstances a little better? Or would you rather the nurse just administer the medicines?