For the purpose of this assignment, I chose an experience I had with a post-op nurse. This heartfelt encounter occurred three years ago.
It was a busy day in post-op surgery and I was responsible for five patients. Out of all my patients, I had a 16-year old female who was presented difficulty trying to wake up from the anesthesia from a tonsillectomy. This was concerning, so I made sure I kept watch closely.
Over an hour later, she was finally fully conscious and aware of her surroundings. I noticed on her chart she requested to have her glasses when she wakes, and I immediately put the glasses on her to calm her down. She could barely talk, but I let her know the surgery was a success and that she would be able to see her parents soon in the recovery room. She grabbed my hand and thanked me for just getting her glasses to her.
Not long after our talk, she was wheeled into a recovery room and was able to be reunited with her parents. I was assigned to her specifically because she trusted me. She had kept throwing up and she was getting weaker. I did my best to give her popsicles, apple sauce; I even tried Jell-O. But she had difficulty holding it down. Eventually, she ate half a popsicle as I sat there and fed it to her for a couple of minutes.
During that time it gave me a chance to talk to her about school, boys, her hobbies, and her fears. She was so grateful I was there she started to cry. I continued to make her feel as comfortable as possible, and this included assisting her to the washroom, and getting more pillows and blankets so she was kept elevated and warm. I could see her slowly but surely improving and getting stronger. This made me so happy to see. The evening was approaching, and by then, to the best of her ability, she was alert, strong, and talking. Just as she was getting discharged, she got up from her wheelchair and gave me a hug and thanked me for giving her the strength and confidence that she was going to get through this difficult recovery.
After reflecting on this experience, the nurse had qualities that built a trustworthy relationship between her and the patient. According to The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the nurse followed the six principles that make up the Code of Conduct. All nurses must adhere to these principles, in which this nurse has done exceptionally well. In particular, the nurse demonstrated principle number three: ‘nurses maintain patients’ trust by providing safe and competent care (CNO, 2019, pg.7).’ The nurse gained the patient’s trust by being an active listener, asking questions, providing the patient with necessary services, and communicated verbally. This was also explained by Janice Morse, who is an RN and PhD in anthropology and nursing. She states, ‘depending on the duration of contact, the relationship between a nurse and a patient should be mutually satisfying in order to meet the patient’s needs and the commitment of the nurse (Morse, 2007).’ In my experience, the nurse let herself be empathic to seek trust and to build a nurse-client relationship. As a student nurse, I am expected to remain professional, while acquiring trust and providing care to my patients. To maintain patient confidentiality and provide competent care will be an important part when starting clinical.
In this situation, the nurse was able to connect with her patient while applying her knowledge to the subject. A strength that was evident from the beginning was the nurses ability to acknowledge the patients needs. For example, having the patients eye glasses ready when she wakes. However, a weakness may have been spending more time with a patient, when there are other clients who may need their help too. In my future nursing career, this becomes important for learning how to time manage. To ensure I practice correctly and follow policies and guidelines, I must:
Read and CNO and RPNAO (and RNAO) guidelines, standards, and policies.
Review practice questions and situations about remaining professionalism while being empathic.
Ask my professor or clinical instructor for advice on how to handle certain experiences that may be challenging; like how to time manage between patients.
Incorporate active listening, theoretical knowledge, and communication skills in my daily routine so it becomes a habit.
Overall, this experience has taught me the importance of following professional standards and practice guidelines. I have learned the significance of meeting patient needs, communicating using verbal and non-verbal skills, being an active listener, and remaining professional but also being empathic towards clients. I will ensure I meet these new skills and standards in order to better my practice of nursing. Nurses that strive to be above and beyond what is required is the type of nurse I aim to be in the near future!
College of Nurses of Ontario. (2019). Code of Conduct for Nurses. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from: J. M. (2007, July 31). Negotiating commitment and involvement in the nurse-patient relationship. Retrieved from