These last few weeks I have learned a whole lot about my impact on those around me. I’ve been given a number of compliments about my work, from colleagues of differing disciplines and of course patients and their families.
I have been trying to secure a permanent position at work, the last few months I have been put on temporary contract after temporary contract, I continued to have my contract extended. So I applied for a permanent part time position where I am, with the verbal “guarantee” that there would be enough work to cover the rest. Anyway, I was always being asked by other staff if I was staying on after my new grad rotation and I mentioned that I had applied for the position. Everyone was really supportive, they helped me prep for my interview, and I even had a few people put good words in for me without me knowing at the time. I don’t know if it was all the support, my work or if my boss was desperate for staff (since we’re so under staffed lately), but I got the job.
Once I found out I had the job I have had staff telling me how they knew I would get it. I was even told how they preferred me over another applicant, and another colleague who I’ve worked with from time to time on different wards, (not of the nursing discipline) said he had a good relationship with my boss and put in a good word for me. He said that he believed my boss would be crazy to let me go, and apparently said something along those lines to her, in addition to vouching for me for my quality care. In addition to this I was also told today and yesterday by a patients family member that I obviously have a passion for nursing. It was nice to hear some feedback, and I always hoped that I would be a caring nurse who puts my patients first despite the attitudes of others. I also like to think that I would fight for my patients when I think they aren’t getting the care they deserve. This same family member stated that another nurse and I worked really well together, which made me think about how our care and the way we interact with each other is always on display.
There are always personality clashes in any work environment, but when you work with people, and especially when you are seen to directly influence a person’s life appearances mean everything. Not just the way you dress, but the way you interact with your colleagues, the way you treat your patients, and of course the quality and effort you put in for each person as an individual. I think it’s important to treat each individual as just that, an individual. We all have cares, concerns, and special qualities. We also all have issues, we have fears and we feel anxious, embarrassed and inferior, all of which comes out when you enter the realm of a patient. Sometimes I think we can so easily forget that, we make jokes about funny situations we’ve been in, that are funny to us but may be taken personally by a patient or their family. When we joke about people who we have nursed and tell gross stories within ear shot of other patients and families we have to wonder what that would do to their confidence in our performance. At the end of the day these are only things we laugh and talk about so we can debrief in a way, but for them they don’t see it that way, and these are things that are very personal and if they ever happened to us we’d be deeply embarrassed too.
It’s hard to make everyone happy, and it’s impossible! But, it’s the little things, the attention to detail and the extra efforts we make. To make someone more comfortable, going out of our way to get the extra things like a packet of sugar that catering forgot, or even making the coffee and sitting with a patient who is lonely or anxious. That is the part of nursing that we don’t get the time for, but sometimes there are patients that we make that extra time for, even if it means we leave late, or later than usual!
I love my job, and now I can rest in the knowledge I don’t have to worry when I’ll be finishing up. I love my job, the other amazing nurses I work with, I love interacting with my patients, their families and I love going the extra effort just to see a little smile, or a look of relief. It’s not just about the clinical aspect, you really have to be a people person, have patience and know how to deal with conflict resolution. And of all the places I’ve worked I find the other members of our multidisciplinary team are so supportive. I must admit, I am lucky to have a job I love to go to each day, of course there are hard days, there are days where I’m so tired and exhausted I don’t want to go in, but once I get there I know it’s all worthwhile.