I know it means doing what is in the best interest of my pt even when this means doing things or not doing things they want because it is not in their best interest. Sometimes I am so busy doing things for them that they misinterpret as apathy because, for example, if I am hanging a newer med and am working hard calculating a dose, or dilution, or titrating it while assessing, because I am not chatting up the visitor or fetching the extra blanket they want, they think it is uncaring. The problem here is they don't understand the comlexeties of the job of the RN. I am okay with my pt being cold for an extra 5 minutes while I assess them after titrating the nitro drip. Sorry, you think I should run off and get your blanket, but I'd rather make sure you're safe with this adjustment. I also don't understand how they can't get this as I am also usually doing the pee-pee dance. You don't get a blanket and I don't pee, but your BP is life sustaining.
Caring is giving the best possible care to your patient. All the while remembering the WHOLE patient is in your care, not just the mastectomy, but the wife with altered body image, experiencing grief at the loss of a breast, and helping the husband to accept caring for the wife's new body and dressing changes. Holistic nursing.
Caring is never forgetting, your primary purpose is to be your patients advocate - you are not there to appease the physician, or the family - especially if in doing so, you would contradict your patients wishes.
Caring is always keeping the well-being of your patient above keeping the doctors happy, the family happy, and your boss happy. It's taking the time to talk to your patients and getting to know them as people, not diseases or surgeries. It's asking them if you can do anything else every time you leave. It's helping your CNAs by taking them to the bathroom, helping them get up, setting up trays, or even Feeding them(on those nights when you only have a few patients).
It's knowing that you did the best you could every day when you leave the floor...and it's caring enough to leave work behind you when you leave the floor.
All the above posts are excellent, but I am a career nurse and I just wish nursing would get off the word "care"! Just is too cutesy for me anymore. We have struggled as a profession and to this day still have a difficult time with just the definition of what nursing is.
This will be unpopular, but.....I don't necessarily care ( in the sense of liking)....I deliver care. Striving for excellence in nursing--what is that?!? The word "caring" just doesn't do it for me, it just doens't fit me anymore. I offer you this--nursing to me is vigilance. For the most part, I am a priviliged observer in the worst time of people's life. It actually is a burdensome responsiblity. To some, we are a caring profession--but I don't want caring to define me anymore.
Caring comes from within that nurse. It's in her eyes, it's in her voice, it's in her touch, it's in her listening to the patient, it's in her compassion, it's in her sharing of herself and time with her patient, a nurse that has a love for human life and her profession will carry that love into caring for her patient.