Nurses have proven to be the backbone of our healthcare system for decades. They have prioritized our needs over their safety during the COVID-19 crisis. We would not have survived such times if it were not for their expertise and passion.
This profession is in high demand because of the exponential growth in the nursing industry. The supply has all short of the actual requirement of nursing staff. Hence, more people have been opting for this job to secure their future.
Given the growing need for nurses and the high nurse-to-patient ratio, the quality of service may suffer. Patients might not be able to receive the attention and care that they expect. To compensate for the growing needs of patients and maintain a high standard of care, nurses must improve continuously.
Some people believe that improvement only means an increasing workload. However, this can not be further from the truth. Since nurses are known for already having packed schedules, the following are tips for improving work performance.
1) Focus on your interpersonal skills
Nursing is a profession that requires you to deal with different people and situations all the time. It is inevitable to avoid problems where your emotional quotient is far more important than your intelligence quotient. Several nursing degrees and online RN classes are available to teach interpersonal and ethical skills to students.
Nurses must have meaningful conversations with their patients and family members. It is vital to have the skills to calm the bewildered and communicate effectively. Understanding patients’ concerns and opinions are also a significant part of their job. Their performance depends on how well they comprehend the problem and communicate a solution without medical knowledge.
We all want emotional support if we’re at the hospital, but those who stay longer require it more than usual. Nurses should know how to help a patient. A kind remark or even a brief conversation might serve as a distraction in dire conditions. People value nurses who try to build connections outside of their professional capacity. Ask your patient how their day has been, or take time to answer their query. Doing this will lead to higher patient satisfaction.
2) Do not ignore your weaknesses
Nurses are heroes, but not perfect. It is human nature to be weak at some tasks. However, nursing is a high-responsibility occupation. The health of many may lie in the hands of a nurse’s performance. Hence, it is necessary for them never to ignore their weaknesses.
Some nurses take too long to complete paperwork, some are not good at communication, while others may lack clinical knowledge. Avoiding such tasks or making do with a skill deficiency is not a wise solution to this problem.
Take opportunities that will teach you to strengthen your performance. You can even ask senior medical professionals for advice on upscaling your work execution. The internet also has numerous suggestions to improve documentation and other nursing tasks.
3) Only accept workload that you can handle
We have discussed the shortage of nurses briefly before. The recommended nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:4 on medical-surgical units, 1:3 on intermediate units, and 1:2 in ICUs. It is unlikely that a nurse will be able to handle more workload than this. Taking more responsibility does not improve your work if the quality is adversely affected.
Hence, ensure you let the administration know when your plate is full. Doing this will not make you look unprofessional. Instead, it will show how much you care about the quality of attention you provide to the patients under your supervision.
4) Stay up to date
Education does not stop after graduation for nurses. There are advancements in medical technology every day. Staying updated on how these can make your job more effective and efficient is necessary. Moreover, there is always a newer medication on the market. A passionate nurse would make herself knowledgeable about all such inventions to ensure the best treatment for their patient. Being a part of research also teaches you a lot as a nurse.
5) Focus on your physical and mental health
Nursing is an emotionally and physically draining job. It requires you to be on your feet all the time. Nurses do everything from assisting doctors during rounds to communicating all updates on shift changes. Being attentive and well is the foremost necessity in this field. Begin by focusing on maintaining a healthy diet. It is usual for nurses not to get elaborate breaks to eat or relax. Meal prepping is the best concept for individuals with a busy schedule because cooking is a luxury after a long and tiring shift
This concept allows people to prepare food beforehand. You can assign a day for grocery shopping and cooking meals for the entire week. Plan a healthy menu to ensure you get all nutrients required. Practicing meal prepping will ensure you always have food in your work bag. You can reheat the food whenever your wish to consume it. It will come in handy after a tiring day or short breaks during shifts.
Another essential aspect of good health is quality sleep. Nurses with night shifts might find it difficult to sleep at night, leading to severe work mistakes. Being a nurse, all this is a big no-no. The key to maintaining good emotional and mental health is including some me-time into your routine. This time can be used to journal your thoughts, carry out an activity you enjoy, or even relax. This will allow you to evaluate your feelings and provide a much-needed break. Better physical and mental health will lead to general improvements in your mood. Your work will also be positively impacted.
There is no set recipe for the success of a nurse. Reaching perfection is next to impossible in this profession, just like all others. Even though the stakes are high, you can’t give your best always. Remember that some days might be more difficult than others. You might struggle with a few things. However, putting too much pressure on yourself for perfection is unrealistic. Ensure you set rational expectations for yourself.
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