How do you measure success?

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    Hi. This bb includes the comments of people who come into the helping professions for different reasons. I would like to know how you all measure success in your work? It may not be any one thing that you measure success by. Do you measure it by how well you perform tasks? By how many times someone expresses their appreciation to you for your help or just being there? By ratings? By how high or many times you get promoted? By how much money you get paid? Who you know? How much education you have? Whether or not the patient and/or family learned to appropriately take care of their needs with your help? Whether or not the patient and/or family suffered (via an error) at your hands? There are many other measures.

    In light of the different revisions of standards by JCAHO and other groups, we're expected to measure our success by evidence and outcomes. I feel that this means that we must proactively teach, train, and encourage patients and their families to be proactive in their health and medical care needs. Nurture which is a process, while still important to keep things honest, will have to be done in a different, more discreet way. Efficiency and effectiveness seem to be the key terms today with the "bottomline" being the driving force. Please take time to answer. I'm eager to read what you write.
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    I do not feel that success in nursing can be measured in our paychecks. If it were, let's face it, most of us would feel like failures. I measure success by the way my residents respond to me. If I can calm a combative resident, ease the fear of someone who is so frightened they cannot function, bring a smile to their face, get someone to eat that otherwise would not, have them tell me they love me or thank me for being there with them, to me that is success. My residents are like my extended family and they mean more to me than just a job or paycheck. I truly care about the quality of their life and making it easier for them to function. So I guess success to me, is the hugs and I love you's I get each day. That's what makes it all worth while.
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    I'll be returning to work tomorrow after 4 glorious days off. I choose to measure my "success" from the following situation that I most recenlty experienced.

    I was taking care of a lady for almost two weeks. She was receiving IV therapy and had really poor veins. She had to have a new IV site at LEAST every 24 hours and her doctor was reluctant to put in a central line. Anyhow, over the week and a half that I cared for her we developed a wonderful nurse-patient bond. While the surgeon put in her central line last week, I held her hand and she called me her ROCK. Then, this past Thursday as I was taking the bottle down that had contained her lipids that had infused, she gave me a hug and thanked me for taking care of her and for being her "rock", she told me what a good nurse I was and that she would miss having me take care of her and thanked me for all of the care that I had given her. Needless to say, I got a little teary eyed too.

    I've been a nurse for 4 years now and this was one of the few times that I had been thanked by a patient and the first time where I actually felt that I really WAS a good nurse. Moments like these are what it means to be a "success" in nursing. I didn't go into nursing to make money, I went into nursing so that I could help people and that is what I do and now I know that I'm doing a pretty good job at it!

    Kelly


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