My name is Abby Starns, and I am many things, but I am not yet a nurse. When I was younger I had no idea which direction my life would take, and it did not bother me much that I had no plans for my future. I felt I had no purpose or calling, and that my life was not going to serve a greater cause; simultaneously, I was not motivated to try and figure out what I was meant to do with my life. Many people switch from one career choice to another, but not me, I simply had no idea about my future. That changed when I went on a mission trip to Haiti and decided I wanted to do mission work. Once I decided that nursing school was the way I wanted to accomplish that goal, I have not waivered, and that was about two and a half years ago.
Getting accepted into USM’s nursing program was a much-needed confidence booster, simply because it reinforced my belief that one day I will be a nurse. After being aimless and ambitionless for so long, it is motivating to have a goal that I am well on my way to accomplishing. I think many people probably have an inaccurate picture in their head of nursing. They might think of nursing as giving medicine, administering shots, or applying band-aids. When I was a child I probably thought the same things. Before I started taking nursing classes, I thought of nursing as an almost mechanical process of ascertaining the issue, and then simply fixing the problem. Now I know that nurses do way more than that.
Nurses do not care for a medical diagnosis, they care for the whole person. People have feelings, and opinions, and you cannot treat people like problems to be fixed. A definition of nursing that has a more holistic approach is “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal and honors relationship-centered care”. This definition of nursing encompasses what I believe nursing to be about. I believe that nursing exists today because there needed to be a group of people to hold everything together. Nurses play a huge part in the communication between many different groups of people. They interact with doctors, patients, families, therapists, social workers, and many more. The doctors communicate with those groups of people as well, but not to the extent that nurses do. In addition, nurses are the patients advocates, and the nurse must have the patient’s best interest in mind when making decisions.
The biggest reason I wanted to become a nurse was to help those who cannot help themselves. In Haiti, I met a nurse from the US who provided medical care to Haitian who could not get help anywhere else or who were not educated enough about disease prevention. Giving help to people less fortunate than I am is one of my main motivations for becoming a nurse. I think of nurses as being an influential, if not the most, factor in a patient’s experience in a health care setting. A patient may rely on a doctor do diagnose them and prescribe them the necessary treatment plan or medication, but nurses care for patients in more ways than just physical. Nurses are there for patients, physically, emotionally, or socially, when no one else is. Sometimes the only interaction a patient receives in a day is from a nurse, which makes that interaction even more meaningful. Patients, on the other hand, are all unique and deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Nurses are around during a patient’s most vulnerable moments and should not be made to feel less dignified because of it. Patients will not always be easy to deal with, but patients are people and must be treated with basic human decency by all health care professionals.
All health care professionals have their own jobs to do, and they’re all equally important. No one career choice is lesser than another, but for the best care possible for a patient, each branch of health care needs to be able to work congruently and efficiently. Although nurses and doctors have great influence over a patient, I believe the biggest impact on a patient comes from their community. A community is where the patient lives and interacts with others. Communities usually share similar values and ethics. All these things add up to how a patient lives their life, and when a patient comes into the hospital, they are a product of the community in which they are from. Every community is different, and every person from those communities is distinct and a nurse needs to be able to navigate all these individualities to do his or her job efficiently. There are three major domains of nursing: person, health, and environment. These three categories help to give a clear picture of what encompasses the term “nursing. ” First is “person”, which is simply the individual receiving nursing care.
A nurse’s patient would be the person because he or she is who the nurse is caring for. “Health” is how each individual views their own health). For example, walking twice a week for 20 minutes might be considered healthy to Person A, but to Person B running four times a week for 30 minutes and eating a healthy diet would be considered healthy. “Environment” is an accumulation of internal and external factors that influences a person’s health. Environment could be a person’s genetics, which can affect a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases, or environment could be a person’s community, which can play a factor in how a person interacts with disease prevention. The domains of nursing are connected through the nurse. A nurse directly interacts with “person”, and each person is affected by “health” and “environment. ” The three categories affect how a nurse is going to care for his or her patients. My hope for nursing in the future is for it to continue to be one of the most trusted professions.
Nursing has progressed a long way to become such an admired profession and I would like it to stay that way. I would also like it to become more inclusive. Nurses in hospitals are mostly made up of Caucasian Americans and I would like to see more diversity in hospitals in the future. I think a bigger challenge for myself in the future will be for me to stand up for myself. I think that in any work environment there is a tendency for people to get walked over. I am a very non-confrontational person, so learning how to respectfully confront people in certain situations will have to be something that I work on. My main goal as a professional nurse is to become the most efficient version of myself. I want to be a good nurse that people will look up to one day.
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