The field of nursing is broad and long with many avenues in which to participate. There are, however, a number of fundamental qualities that are necessary for every nurse, or potential nurse, to possess. These are my attributes and the things I consider make a good nurse. To begin with, I strongly believe that the profession is a ‘calling’ rather than just a job. If all one is looking for is an easy, comfortable life with a nice pay check along the way, then this is not the career to choose. The person going into this profession has to know that this is the right way for his/her life to progress.
To my mind, when choosing this path, that individual has actively made a decision to dedicate his/her life to the care of others and to follow the way of the many great care-givers who have trod this important path before him/her. Although it is extremely important to learn the science of nursing – what medicines to administer, when, how much and where – with dedication and a certain amount of intelligence this can be learned. It is, however, very difficult to learn compassion, empathy and rapport. I believe that you are born this way. I have read much concerning what attributes make a good care-giver but the idiom which
really sticks in my mind is that of the three H’s…HEART-HEAD-HANDS. The heart is the beat. One must care enough. Compassion is to be there when the patient fears that which he knows. Concern for the needs of the patient should be paramount as should be to know when to act. Sometimes though, reassurance cannot be enough and you must have the ability to know when to pull away, no matter how hard that might seem. The head is the details. One must know enough. Knowledge comes in two forms: the first is in subject data. Anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and medication administration, psychology, ethics, nursing theory and legal issues.
The second comes in giving information to a patient who fears the unknown. The hands are the tools. One must do enough. Competency to do things for a patient who cannot. Proficiency in the provision of the right help at the right time. Whether it be medicine, cleaning, feeding or bathing, Too much of one of these three at the degradation of the other is bad – the key is balance. I strive towards excellence in all that I do and I respect and care about those around me. I have a genuine interest in being approachable and feel a need to help. It is hard to imagine the distress that some patients may be under.
To listen and understand and empathize with an individual’s feelings is a main objective of mine. I would hope that those who come in contact with me will feel gladdened by my presence and that they would trust my professional ability. Just because circumstances have dictated that the individual in my care may be in pain and surrounded by difficulties does not mean that there should not be levity. A joke and a warm laugh go a long way in calming and relieving situations of distress. A wise person once said, “We’d all be worse without a nurse. “- How right he was! This, then, is me. Above all, I would bring myself to the nursing field.