Class of 2014
I believe nursing is the intersection of humility, knowledge, and compassion.
When I began nursing school I quickly realized how essential humility is to nursing. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of beginning a new career is the amount of new information one must learn. As someone who enjoys learning, I found myself asking questions and seeking clarification quite often. It takes a certain amount of humility to become a nurse because you must first admit you know very little about the topic at hand. Knowing that patients’ lives are at stake has been emphasized by my teachers and clinical instructors to always seek clarification on anything we are unsure about. I would much rather ask a myriad of questions than completing a task I am unsure about and compromising the safety of my patients. Having adequate knowledge of the patient and situation at hand is essential because nurses are the last line of defense for our patients. Humans make mistakes, but I believe it’s my job as a nursing student to learn as much as I can now so that mistakes can be minimized. It seems overwhelming at times to learn everything required in nursing school, but my learning will not stop at graduation. As future nurses, we have accepted the responsibility to never stop learning and acquiring more knowledge. It seems nursing is always changing and nurses must constantly adapt to ensure the best possible care for our patients. Although nurses will never know everything, we have accepted the challenge to become lifelong learners.
Just as important as humility and knowledge is compassion. A professor asked my class, “If you were in the hospital, would you want your nurse to be knowledgeable or compassionate?” Everyone agreed the nurse should be both knowledgeable and compassionate. Another professor pointed out that patients who were not satisfied with their care usually felt this way because of a lack of compassion from the staff. It’s not necessarily the job of the nurse to cure the patient, but to care for them in their time of need. Although it may not always be easy, I believe caring and compassion are at the core of nursing. Sometimes a smile, lending an ear, or a friendly gesture is most needed. The patient probably won’t remember all the medications they received or every nursing intervention performed, but I can guarantee they will remember if the nurse demonstrated compassion.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is helping to train the next generation of nurses. We don’t just need nurses, we need great nurses. I believe great nurses demonstrate humility, knowledge, and compassion.