A career in Nursing is an ever evolving learning experience. Unfortunately, you will ascertain a minute amount of information in Nursing School compared to the experience that you will obtain through trial and error while working. Nursing School is wonderful but there simply isn’t enough time to prepare you for everything that you potentially may encounter. You will make mistakes, you will have days when things don’t go your way, and you will have days when you would rather not be around anyone that you work with. We are going to cover a few of the more common challenges that a nurse may encounter and then we will consider the best way to deal with these challenges.
There will be moments when you are working and you can’t seem to find anything to do and in the next moment you are hoping you can stop long enough to use the restroom. You will have medications to administer at certain times, patients to assess, paperwork that must be done, treatments and education that must be performed routinely. Then you will have the things that you are unable to plan for like the patient in room 3 that has difficulty breathing and has now lost consciousness, the man in 6 that has fallen out of bed because he was trying to get out of bed before the anesthesia wore off. The worst thing that you can do is to try to do everything on your own. Your patients will suffer and you will wear out fast. Don’t be afraid to delegate to C.N.A.s the tasks that are within their scope of practice. Don’t be afraid to seek out another nurse if you must. Having said this, do not shirk your responsibilities or push things on others that you can do yourself and be ready to return the favor without complaining.
Avoid getting involved in senseless gossip or drama in the workplace. This type of behavior is not only self damaging but it also affects the team as a whole. There are times when you really need help you don’t want there to be any conflict present. There are instances where disagreements are appropriate. If you happen to know that something is wrong such as a co-worker who is about to make a medication error or a co-worker is sexually harassing you then don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Respectfully disagree regarding patient safety and be willing to follow your chain of command to push the issue if there is an unsettled conflict. Sexual harassment should be reported to your supervisor immediately and should not be tolerated.
“But the patient made me do it”
Another challenge that you may encounter as a nurse is that you will care for different types of people with different beliefs and values from your own. You will also have patient and sometimes patient family members who will put your nursing skills to the test along with your patience. If the patient or a family member makes an unreasonable request or attempts to challenge a safety issue or inadvertently compromises the patient’s health then it is up to the nurse to take charge of the situation. The first course of action should be to educate the patient and or family member as to why this isn’t a conducive course of action. Again, be respectful but firm. If this type of conflict goes unresolved then you should call on the charge nurse or the Physician. On the other hand, if a patient is adamant that something you are doing isn’t right for them, such as an undocumented medication conflict or an allergy concern or that it is the right toe that is to be amputated and not the left then you should double check your records and consult the charge nurse or physician who is responsible for that patient. Make the extra effort to prevent an error in the future.
There are many challenges that the nurse will face on a daily basis. We have only gone over a few of the more common ones. Use your common sense and remain poised and if you don’t know the answer then ask someone who does. This isn’t a sign of weakness. This is how we grow as nurses. Use your strengths to balance out your weaknesses and try to use every experience to your advantage in this challenging career known as Nursing.
Any other conflicts you can think of? Share your thoughts in the comments section.