Quote from alexamasan
I work on a surgical floor (with occasional medical patients), for a bout 2.5 years now and there are many colleagues on my floor whom I admire very much. They seem to know so much about everything, able to talk to physicians, PA's, NP's on their level about possible causes for a patients symptoms, possible treatments. They know what s/s to look out for so many conditions patients come in with. They know medications seemingly inside and out.
I don't at all feel inadequate at my job and I feel like I provide safe and competent care to my patients. But some of my colleagues are on a whole other level, it's like they are former ICU nurses that are now working on the surgical floor.
How do I become like that? Are there any resources you guys recommend I study? I'm sure experience has a lot to do with it since they have seen so much over the years (they have been nurses for a while), but I don't want to be passive about my improvement as a clinician. How should I go about improving and learning?
At two and a half years in, you're just becoming competent. (It takes about two years, although I cannot recall, at this precise moment, the name of the genius who wrote that.) So if you are providing safe and competent care to your patients, you're about where you should be.
Now, I'm all about learning and improving, and there are many ways to go about that. Books, You-Tube videos, journal articles, Medscape . . . all kinds of things. But the simplest, easiest and most basic thing is to make it a point to know your patients inside and out. A surgical floor is busy -- I get that. So every shift, pick out one patient. Know them inside and out -- admitting diagnosis, comorbidities, lab values and test results, meds -- everything. Read the doctor's notes, both the admitting physician and any specialist's notes. They won't make a whole lot of sense at first, but as you keep working on it, you'll gain a window of insight into the doctor's thinking. If your perusal of the patient's chart leads to questions, write them down and look them up. Or ask the physician on rounds. Don't have rounds? Ask a resident to explain it to you -- residents love to teach because it consolidates the knowledge in their own heads AND they get to know something that you don't. Win/win. Write down questions to look up at home after your shift or on your day off. (I know, I know -- homework is "YUK!" But if you really want to get good, it's necessary.) If you still don't understand why something works the way it does, or why it doesn't work the way it's supposed to in THIS patient, pick brains until you do understand it. Gradually, you'll get a reputation for being someone who wants to know more, and physicians will start taking the time to teach you. Ask to watch a surgery -- you will learn tons. As you learn more, you'll find yourself doing all of this automatically with all of your patients. That's when you'll become the whiz and everyone will want to pick YOUR brain!