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Can a nurse learn to be more detail oriented?

Posted

I've been a nurse almost 2 years. I started off in NICU. Loved the teaching side of it, but not being a highly detail oriented person seem to bite me in the butt in this dept. Can a nurse ever learn to be more detail oriented or is it just the way you are as a person? I'm a laid back person in general and having to be super detail oriented was very mentally draining for me.

Thanks in advance!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

Of course you CAN learn if you really want to -- but that doesn't mean it would be easy. The question is really, "Do want to work in that specialty bad enough to develop new ways of thinking and behaving?" Breaking old habits takes real effort and only you can say whether or not you are willing to put in that much effort. If you want it badly enough, you can do it. If not, then you won't.

Some people just aren't "detail people" and it takes real effort for them to focus on the details. It's not that they CAN'T, it's just that it is not their natural style. It's OK to decide that working in a unit that requires paying close attention to details is not a good fit for you. It's OK to decide that NICU (or any other particular specialty) is not a good natural fit for your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. But if it's what you really want in your heart, you can work on developing greater strength in those areas that are your weakness and can learn to change your behaviors. The choice is yourse -- either choice is OK.

rabiamirou, BSN

Specializes in Mother-Baby Pediatrics. Has 3 years experience.

I am so disappointed that there are not more responses to your question, as I have the same problem. I want so badly to be good at nursing but my attention to detail is poor. I wish there were some examples of how people like me have overcome this.

What I will say has improved with me is the recognition of it, I miss things and then realize why, and then go back the next day and try to improve on it. I did forget to bladder scan someone, which would not have happened if I had re-read her orders (I had her for three days) - now I will re-read orders to remind myself of things I might miss. This is my second year as a nurse and I have made progress, but I wish I could just take a pill and suddenly be detail oriented and anal.

36 minutes ago, rabiamirou said:

I am so disappointed that there are not more responses to your question, as I have the same problem. I want so badly to be good at nursing but my attention to detail is poor. I wish there were some examples of how people like me have overcome this.

What I will say has improved with me is the recognition of it, I miss things and then realize why, and then go back the next day and try to improve on it. I did forget to bladder scan someone, which would not have happened if I had re-read her orders (I had her for three days) - now I will re-read orders to remind myself of things I might miss. This is my second year as a nurse and I have made progress, but I wish I could just take a pill and suddenly be detail oriented and anal.

I worked with a nurse like this and she made herself lists. Eventually she developed a pattern from repetition of certain nursing tasks. For example, if you change a patient's dressing, did you label it appropriately, did you chart it, did you measure it, etc. She would have a list for wounds and dressing changes. When taking report, she would be sure to add stars or hearts (if they were on a tele monitor) or whatever her system was for identifying certain things, and she would know what lists to use. Yes, for a while she had a small stack of cards /(because she put them on index cards) but eventually it made her a better nurse and taught her to complete necessary checks scenarios.

rabiamirou, BSN

Specializes in Mother-Baby Pediatrics. Has 3 years experience.

Wow. A stack of index cards. Respect.

Thanks for your post

She had them in a box in a cubby in the break room. She would only take out the ones she needed. Believe it or not, the rest of us referred to them when we had patients with issues we hadn't seen in a long time. None of us made fun of her because it was helpful to us all.