What Makes a Great Nurse - page 2

When I was in nursing school, one thing I always remember hearing the instructors say is straight A's are not what makes a good nurse. There's nothing wrong with getting straight A's of course, but... Read More

  1. by   AgentBeast
    Rule #1 for being a great nurse is to be the nurse that you would want taking care of you or one of your loved ones.

    Rule #2 see rule number 1
  2. by   amygarside
    Great article, very articulate and helpful especially for those who are just starting in the nursing profession.
    Hi Op. I apologize for taking your post in a direction that you had not intended it to go. I understand that you meant this to be a source of reference and inspiration, and again I did not mean to shift it away from that focus.

    I would like to explain why I feel the way I do. Not that I'm apologizing, but so you all can at least kind of understand why I feel the way I feel. I'll start by telling you that I grew up around these people. In fact nearly ALL of my family are addicts of some form or another. I grew up watching them (this includes my mother and step dad, both of whom I loved very much) nodding off and passing out and dropping right in front of me-public and private-on a regular basis. I remember some of their friends trying to help them for the total of my pre military life, to no avail. I have friends who were the same way, but no matter how much the rest of us tried to help them improve their lives, they would just do what they wanted-and what they wanted were their drugs, whether it was heroin, coke or methadone. Speaking of methadone, my mom and step dad were on it (through a meth clinic) for well OVER 15 years! Probably closer to 20 as I don't know when they started, but I do know that they were on it for as long as I can remember all the way until years AFTER I went to Boot Camp at 17 (I turned 18 in Boot Camp). Suffice to say they were on it for a long time. They are dead now. And I have MANY more examples from my REAL LIFE of people I cared about dying due to their own indiscretions, but I hope that my own parents are enough of an example to make a point.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Nov 15, '12
    @ wish_me_luck-While I have not walked a mile IN the shoes of an addict, I have walked MARATHONS alongside many addicts in those shoes whom I deeply cared for. "cared" and not "care" for. Past tense because they are dead.

    Also, God bless you for digging yourself out of that pit. It tells the world that you are undeniably a strong person because many people simply cannot do it. I'm not just saying that to get the rest of the posters to put down their pitch forks either. I mean it. Congratulations and keep it up!
  5. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    I don't think anyone was being disrespectful or negative to you, in fact, I was so proud of the way the posters addressed this complex issue. The bottom line is the OP was talking about the "judgement" factor.

    Yes, it is very horrible, no ones asking to "lie in the bed they made...," however, we shouldn't assist anyone to rock bottom, and if I was I your supervisor, I would expect you to excuse yourself from treating patients who are addicts/alcoholics just as I wouldn't allow a nurse who was sexually molested to have to treat an offender- all because we are supposed to offer the best care possible; free of bias.

    No one is trying to be negative, in fact they are responding to the negativity of one post who went against the grain, and believes they might know more than the medical community, generations of studies, and common diagnostics that it isn't even a disease. You can't fill an empty cup, so the advice I always have seen given is to relieve yourself from treating a patient you can't treat without a "negative" bias.

    I am sorry you were raised around addiction- it is a hell to live with, and even worse to experience. I'm sure they too wish they had normal lives, but the disease is gripping, and patients affected don't need our help to feel worse, "or let them face fall." I entered Nursing to relieve suffering.

    I'm not going against the grain of centuries of progress to say, let them suffer alone, "they made their bed." No, I'm going to do what I can to point the way of wholeness, health, and better life, no matter if they are deserving or not-they are my patient.
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Nov 14, '12 : Reason: Formatting
  6. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    Lol, I thought I was being called "Poochiewoochie," (with my handle being a mutt) lol, hahaha!

    I was like, . . . Now when did I say this, and this, and. .why am I being called "Poochiewoochie," . . .

    but then I found the real "Poochiewoochie!" So I don't have to type another long winded post after all! Thank God!

    As far as judgement and bias goes, the words "VIP" on a chart boils my blood, and gets my stereotyper in high gear!!!! I can't stand to think that management thinks, "They'll know now to treat this patients EGO!"
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Nov 14, '12
  7. by   Esme12
    I think we need to consider that our personal experiences influence our behavior. I know some chronic pain sufferers that are treated so poorly by the healthcare system that it makes me sad. I have seen dying cancer patients be denied adequate pain relief because they could "become addicted".......ADDICTED????? THEY"RE DYING!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your personal experience influences your opinion and maybe personal experience influences Poochiewoochie. "We" (the collective we) as nurses need to keep our personal biases to ourselves and care for our patient as they deserve to be cared for.......with kindness, compassion, and respect. We need to remember we may not always know what someone personal burdens are and temper our responses.

    We can all voice our opinions respectfully and respect each others point of view as long it is polite!
  8. by   cp1024

    I don't think you made it at all clear that you wanted to omit those who found themselves addicted to drugs that were prescribed. That's why I said that you can't stick everyone in the same box. You seem to think that you're the only person who grew up in a "less than ideal" home. Well, you're not. My parents were much like you describe yours to be. I am not, and never will be an enabler, but I am able to have compassion for others and treat them properly.

    Many people who have alcohol or drug problems are that way because they started with a mental illness and are "self medicating" they NEED HELP! Not have someone watch them fall on their faces. I know a man who was an alcoholic and illicit drug user. If you asked him a few years ago, he would've told you he started doing and continued (with the alcohol) because he just liked doing it. After he threatened suicide, he was admitted to psych and discovered to have some pretty severe depression, anxiety and other mental issues. Because someone (me) didn't just blow him off and made sure he got help, (and this wasn't a pleasant journey) and is now well on his way to recovery. He's a changed person, not only because he's free of the substance, but because he now has a proper way to deal with his mental illness instead of burying. After self reflection, he said he knew what he was doing was wrong, and he wanted to stop, but couldn't because if he did his anxiety would nearly make him sick. He was self medicating.

    I do truly understand where you're coming from, and honestly I felt the same at one time. Those of us who have had to watch our parents throw their lives away have a horribly unique vantage point as to what it's like to live with an addict(s). But you have to realize that pov is not a non biased one. You are bringing your past feelings and dumping them on your future patients, and those living with addiction now. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to you. You are carrying around the anger and hurt and the disappointment of all the things that happened to you. I feel your pain, and I completely understand. At the same time, you need to find a way to let that go. You will have prejudice against those you come into contact with as a nurse and it will color your judgement when caring for them. Make an appointment with a pastor, counselor, or whomever you feel comfortable with and unload your frustrations so that you can heal yourself, before you try to help others heal as a nurse.
  9. by   Msanchez09
    New at posting, so please bear with me. To the one agitated and annoyed with addicts, thinking their wasting our time and tax dollars: I know of some who are addicts. And I was once so judgemental of them, and non-compassionate. But soon had a wake up call, these folks don't sit around saying "I'm bored, think I'll get addicted to drugs, and let others pay for it". Most have undergone such severe crisis, they didn't know where else to turn to for help. As nurses our two biggest jobs is compassion and patient advocates.
  10. by   nurseprnRN
    "Compassion" is a lot more than you think. It is actually not what you say, which was, "A nurse with compassion is one who truly cares about her patients (sic) well-being and outcome. This nurse treats her patients as she would expect any other nurse to treat herself or own loved ones."

    Nice idea, but not remotely relevant to the concept.

    Read this carefully. Compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering." The "sympathy" part is also generally misunderstood, as it has connotations of pity, expressing sorrow at a loss, for example. But sympathy means "harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another, the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions, the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration."

    Compassion, therefore, absolutely requires the ability to put oneself in the other's position and fully imagine (not guess) at that person's feelings, needs, and fears, to feel the same as that person. This is far different from what you describe.

    It is, however, a necessary attribute of an effective nurse. This is because we must recognize that the patient is the one with the disease (thanks, House of God), and, most importantly, the patient is in charge of the treatment plan. We might not like a patient's decision but we are honor bound to understand and accept it.

    THAT is compassion, feeling together.

    Without a keen understanding of this very key concept, one can never understand what it takes "to be a great nurse."

  11. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN

    I'm pretty good at reading between lines. I think you are very strong person, and probably an awesome Nurse to boot. I also know you can't grow up with what you experienced without a GREAT deal of pain and resentment. That's why narcanon and al-anon exist. I can't understand what you went through-but I can say, as a recovering addict, I am very sorry for the pain, disappointment, and embarrassment addiction in your family has caused you.

    I hope you find peace one day(for you). But, that's why I am so intent on fighting this disease- not just for the addict, but for the pricharilla's of the world too! I bear the guilt of letting my addiction affect others too, and you probably done everything in your power to help them- you said so, and I am so sorry it didn't work- this is a really messy "thing" (don't want to disrespect you by calling it a disease right now).

    That's why it's so important to me- that we must treat the ones affected as well. I'm also sorry if I said something offensive- I'm wordy and stupid at times, but you deserve to heal and be released from something that heavy, and was totally out of your control.

    I agree with one thing strongly you said! I believe you done everything in your power to save them. I just hope you will do everything in your power to release yourself from the pain, the horrible memories, and the disappointments that were not your fault!

    You deserve peace, happiness, and fulfillment because I know as a nurse you offer it daily. Nurses usually take care of themselves last! I hope you really understand that I'm not against you- I'm against the "thing." God Bless!
  12. by   FlorenceNtheMachine
    Good article nko!! Spot on

    And to the poster about addicts, people have biases. Hers stems from the horrible experiences she had with addicts all her life. I can sympathize with carrying resentment about things like that.

    We have to take care of any and all despite it, and I don't think she meant that she wouldn't. Maybe she just wouldnt like it as much as another type of patient population. Not the worst thing in the world!

    I like honesty and self-evaluation. I wouldn't love taking care of rapists and killers all day. So I'm probably going to avoid working in an environment where the patients are primarily ones I would not enjoy as much.
  13. by   NB19938
    As a loving wife of an alcoholic who spent last Monday in the ER after a terrible binge, I am so grateful that there were nurses who treated my husband as a human being who deserves care and respect.

    Addiction is a horrible, painful disease, and I don't know of anyone who chooses to live that life. Not only am I married to an alcoholic, my mom is an alcoholic and my brothers are both heroine addicts. I am surrounded by it, I am hurt by it, I have cried buckets of tears over it and have worn my knees out praying for it to all stop. But these are all human beings, and I love them very, very much.

    It always amazes me when people say "they made their bed". I don't know about anyone else, but when I took my first swig of liquor at a party when I was 19, I didn't see it as "making my bed." Certainly I could have turned into an addict as could anyone else, but thankfully I did not. Please, don't oversimplify addiction. It just is not that cut and dry.

    I applaud all the positive responses to this article. It started out as a beautifully written post, and it's ironic it took a turn for the worse.....especially given the topic!