Whether you are fresh out of nursing school or have been working for many years, you should be continually aiming to improve your performance as a good nurse. This is key to ensuring that you give your patients the best possible care. However, it’s not always clear what the most effective methods are. Need some inspiration? Here are six suggestions to get you started.
1. Always check your work
This might sound like a simple tip, but it can be a surprisingly useful one. Whatever you’re doing at work – whether it’s administering medication, prepping someone for surgery, or updating a medical record – it’s sensible to double-check your actions. This helps to catch any mistakes before they’re made. It’s especially important for nurses because errors can have serious consequences, but they are all too easy to make at the end of a long, hectic, tiring shift. For example, before giving a patient any medication, double-check the dosage, expiry date, and even the names of the drug and the patient.
2. Identify your weak points and work on them
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and to improve, you need to have an accurate idea of yours. This will show you what you should work on next. The sort of questions to ask yourself include what tasks you find challenging, which jobs you find yourself avoiding or dreading, and what skills are most relevant to your overall career goals. If you find it difficult to figure out your own flaws, it can be helpful to ask for feedback from your colleagues or professors if you’re studying with UIndy online. Once you’ve identified an area to focus on, you can draw up a plan of action to tackle it.
3. Embrace lifelong learning
As a nurse, it’s crucial that you never stop learning. The healthcare field is constantly developing, with new technologies and treatments constantly being introduced. One top tactic is to enroll in professional development courses, but you can also try attending industry conferences and workshops or reading nursing journals. Doing extra certifications is also a great way to enhance your career, as it can enable you to move into more specialized roles. For instance, you may choose to focus on providing care to cancer patients or becoming a certified nurse anesthetist.
4. Find a nursing mentor
Is there a senior nurse in your workplace who you admire? Someone who you aspire to be like or who has a career you dream of? If the answer is yes, you could always try approaching them for some advice. If you’re lucky, they might be happy to act as a mentor to you on a long-term basis. If there’s no one in your current hospital or clinic that you think is suitable, you could try reaching out to a nurse on social media instead. Whichever route you go for, be polite when making your request and offer to buy them a coffee or tea in exchange for the chance to ask them some questions. Don’t be disheartened if they decline – after all, you will be well aware of how busy nurses are! Simply move on to the next person until you find a match.
5. Never cut corners
As mentioned above, the role of a nurse is an extremely busy one. This can lead to the temptation to cut corners to save time, but doing so is a huge mistake. Cutting corners even once or twice can have disastrous consequences. Even if nothing appears to go wrong, it will reduce the quality of care your patients receive and make you more likely to cut corners again in the future. This could end your career and tarnish your reputation. It would be best if you even were cautious about trying to multitask because the vast majority of people cannot do this effectively. Instead, what tends to happen is that you feel more stressed, make worse decisions, and perform at a lower standard.
6. Always put the patient first
This is the golden rule in nursing: your patient must always be your priority. Treat each person in your care with patience, compassion, and positivity, and ensure that you go above and beyond the call of duty wherever appropriate. Sometimes the hectic and stressful nature of the job can make it easy for nurses to forget that the reason they got into the field in the first place was to help others. Make sure that they are your sole focus when you interact with a patient. That means maintaining eye contact, actively listening to what they say, and ensuring that they understand all the information about their health and treatment. Not only will this result in happier patients, but they’ll also be more likely to recover successfully.