Different types of nurses exist. Some work at hospitals while others work in patients’ homes. Some are registered nurses who specialise in a particular condition while others are licensed practical nurses who check vital signs and counsel patients on care.
No matter what type you are and where you work, there are nine things every nurse needs to know.
Nursing malpractice insurance
Negligence, improper supervision, and treatment errors are just a few reasons nurses can be hit with lawsuits. When you’re responsible for caring for patients, you’re going to deal with people who don’t agree with your decisions or who may blame you if something goes wrong. You also are only human and can make a mistake.
Having nursing malpractice insurance can help you avoid having your personal finances drained when a lawsuit occurs. You want a layer of protection in place and quick access to legal representation should a problem ever arise.
You may not need to stock a medical office, but you should have some home supplies on hand. As a nurse, you may find yourself able to help a friend, family member, or even a stranger who needs quick care.
Having some extra supplies at home can give you what you need to be of service. This is of course even more important if you travel to the homes of patients for your normal job. Things like gloves, face masks, disinfectants, tongue depressors, blood pressure equipment, and thermometers should all be kept in stock.
You may not always be able to recognise right away what a patient needs. Having some resources on hand can help you find answers quickly. The book Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice or similar nursing guidebook may be helpful.
Nurses tend to spend most of their shift on their feet. You’re always rushing to the next patient and running to get the doctor. This can cause a lot of harm to your feet and legs. A pair of comfortable shoes will go a long way in preventing pain.
Critical thinking skills
Certain qualities define what makes a good nurse. Having quick critical-thinking skills is one of those qualities. You are often the first person to see and speak with a patient. You need to quickly assess what they’re telling you, assess their symptoms, and determine how to help them or who the best doctor is for them to see.
Patients need the most support. They are often scared and unsure of what’s to come. Nurses need compassion if they hope to provide their patients with the support and understanding they so desperately desire.
Showing empathy can let your patients know you feel for them and you’re there to provide the care they need. It helps them feel more comfortable putting their trust in you.
You need to sleep if you’re going to be able to showcase the skills you have. A lack of sleep can make it easier to lose your temper, have scattered thoughts, and make it hard to focus. Make sure you’re getting sleep when you can so you are well-rested and able to provide the care your patients require.
As a nurse, you will be dealing with patients who may be ill. Certain illnesses can spread to others. Make sure you’re keeping hand sanitiser in your pocket that you can use immediately following the care of a patient. It’s important to keep your hands clean so you don’t catch something yourself or pass it to another person. You should also be making your way to a sink and washing your hands as often as possible.
When preparing for your nursing career, you may be instructed to keep algorithm cards on you. This is a good idea to continue to follow. Get some cards laminated that you can keep on your person. They should have quick facts and practices, such as protocols for certain ailments or data on drugs to prescribe.
Nurses need supplies, insurance, resources, the right shoes, and a set of skills in order to do their best work. Make sure you always have what you need so you can provide for your patients. It will also help you maintain your own mental health.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.