Nursing Essay Example on Professional Nurse Responsibility
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A registered nurse is educated and certified according to the legislation of the state. It is highly recommended for a nurse to get at least a Master’s degree as she must be able to provide first aid and diagnose a wide range of diseases. Besides, most of the countries let nurses prescribe medication and provide private nursing services. In this case, a nurse takes all the responsibility and obviously must have a high level of education and practical skills. A professional nurse’s activities are not limited to everyday medical manipulations; attention must be also paid to self-improvement, social work, and enhancement of nursing system as a whole. These aspects are realized through professional nurses associations, which protect the nurses’ rights and solve various conflict situations arising in the process of daily practice.
Except knowledge and practical skills among the essential characteristics of a professional nurse, some personal features must be mentioned such as honesty, responsibility, sociability, discipline, accuracy, and neatness. Being honest to the patient is very important, as a nurse often faces serious ethical dilemmas. For instance, if the patient suffers from a heart disease, there emerges the question whether or not he must be informed about it. This information can discompose the patient, and his state can get worse. Such solutions are a heavy burden for a nurse. Another important feature is responsibility. A nurse must never forget about the object of the work – a person’s health. All the private, personal problems must be left outside the working place where 100% of attention must be paid to the patient. Any inadvertence can become fatal.
Many people treat nurses as “low level” or “incomplete” doctors. However, the functions and roles of doctors and nurses are different. The public might not be aware of such nurses’ roles as a communicator, patient advocate, or teacher.
As a communicator, the nurse must create a positive psychological environment, which is maximally friendly to the patient. Very often, a good word helps more than a good medicine. For example, if the patient is ashamed of a venereal disease, a professional nurse must do her best to let him get rid of this feeling.
The role of a patient advocate relates to the field of the patient’s rights. Let us take an example when a person is suffering from Alzheimer disease and because of it cannot act properly (Berchtold & Cotman, 1998). In this situation, the nurse can act on his/her behalf and take care not only of the patient’s health, but of all of his interests.
In many cases, the nurse is closer to the patient than a doctor. Spending much time with the patient, the nurse often has more opportunities to talk to him about his state, explain some details about his disease, etc. This is a “teacher” role. The nurse “educates” the patient, gives him instructions and tips about the treatment and rehabilitation. For instance, in pediatrics, when patients are underage, they need carefully dosed information corresponding to their age and developmental level.
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Nursing responsibilities can be divided into two big groups: morale and legal ones. The legal responsibility includes administrative, civil, financial, and criminal aspects. The cases of such responsibility are enlisted in the corresponding codes. A more difficult question to answer is morale or ethical sphere of nursing activities. No code can include all the situations of morale choice for a nurse. To facilitate the solution of these problematic points, special institutes are created such as QSEN – Quality and Safety Education for Nurses. It provides interactive educational programs focused on six main competencies: patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety and informatics (Cronenwett, et al., 2007).
Let us take some examples to comment on the mentioned competencies. The patient-centered care focuses on active participation of the patient in the process of treatment. Therefore, the nurse’s responsibility is to create a roadmap for the patient and let him play an active role instead of being a passive object of medication. Another example concerns evidence-based practice – it is, first of all, nursing responsibility to provide psychological support to the patient in the situation when he mistrusts a doctor’s qualification or the usefulness of a particular medicine. Of course, we must not forget about safety. Since a nurse is responsible for various manipulations like, for instance, injections, maximal attention should be paid to their harmlessness as extremely dangerous illnesses can be transmitted this way, such as AIDS and other diseases.
Nursing activities are based on certain values which are necessary to keep to. Except for previously mentioned principles, several more must be marked out. It is impossible to be a professional nurse compassion. This value distinguishes a medical worker from a machine, dosing medicines, and giving injections. Besides, very often, the compassion appears to be a powerful motivating factor, which does not let the job become boring and tiresome. Another value closely related to motivation is self-perfection including the desire of professional growth. Medical science develops rapidly, and if a nurse does not follow this development, professional competence inevitably declines (Hassmiller, 2010). Finally, the third value worth to be mentioned is honesty. A nurse must be maximally fair dealing with the patient. It creates an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding between them (Storch, 2009). Comfortable psychological conditions are an important factor in the process of patient’s recovery.
In conclusion, the above enlisted roles, responsibilities, and values must be helpful for both patients and nurses themselves. They reveal the essence of professional nurses and describe the sphere of their activities. These points are something like waymarks following which one can build her own nursing practice and career.