With the new year we make many resolutions to improve our lives. As nurses, we have the unique ability to improve the lives of others on a daily basis. However, there are many nursing issues that we as face on a daily basis. We should be focusing attention on these areas to make the nursing profession and more desirable one to be a part of. We need to band together to ensure the best patient care possible.
While I cannot guarantee that every nurse would agree with these goals, I would hope that most would agree that these would add value to our profession. Below you will find 7 Resolutions for the Nursing Profession. These are goals to help improve our professional stance and the quality of care that we can provide to our patients.
1.Mandatory Safe-Staffing Ratios
Many states have already implemented nurse-patio ratios to promote patient safety and improve care. However, there are far more that do not. Until this is a requirement, there will be too many opportunities for nurses to have unsafe patient loads and risk not being able to provide safe and competent care.
Safe Staffing Saves Lives.
2.Eliminating Lateral Violence.
Until we stand together as a profession and pledge to eliminate the act of “nurses eating their young” we will continue to hold ourselves back in the realm of professionalism. We must eliminate the cattiness and the bullying that so often is encountered by new nurses. We are a part of a beautiful and caring profession. Let us show that care to our fellow nurses as well as our patients.
My friend Beth Boynton has some excellent resources for creating positive workplaces for nurses in her book: Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces
3.Use Every Patient Encounter as an Opportunity for Education.
Take every patient encounter as an opportunity to educated them on something. Whether it be about their hospital stay, their medication, their condition, or a procedure they are receiving. Always ask your patients if they have any questions and take the time to answer thoughtfully and responsibly. Patients are appreciative of the extra time you spend giving them extra attention to detail and they may not always ask the questions they need to. It is up to us as nurses to give them the answers that we know they need, even when they do not ask. Be honest and considerate and helpful with their education needs.
4.Continuing Education to Grow Professionally and Personally
Regardless of your state or employers requirements, nurses need to take personal responsibility to continue their education. This does not mean you have to be in college till the day you die or pursue a higher degree. What it does mean is that healthcare and nursing is constantly evolving and you should be thirsting for the knowledge that will help you provide the best care possible for your patients. This may be reading nursing articles, reading nursing blogs, looking for evidence based practice, and other sources of information. Anything that expands your knowledge base as a nurse is helpful in helping you grown.
It should be noted, however, that if you intend to use knowledge you have gained to change your practice, or the organization you work for, you should ensure that the information is vetted and evidence based.
5.Graduate Nurse Programs at All Hospitals
As a new nurse I had 8 hard-hitting weeks to prepare myself to take care of patients on my very own. Eight weeks with a preceptor and after that I had between 3-6 patients at any time that were my responsibility. It simply is not enough time, even with my time in nursing school and clinicals, to be prepared to care patients on your own.
I have heard of other hospitals who have a year internship program for their graduate nurses. These very same facilities have a much higher nurse retention rate. Nurses are also given opportunities to rotate to various departments before they choose their specialty, which gives them a greater opportunity to discover the right “fit” for them.
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I strongly feel that all hospitals should implement programs like this and invest in their nurses skills early to ensure the best possible care for their patients.
6.Office of the National Nurse
My friend Nurse Ratched’s Place is a strong advocate for this position, and I agree with her. The united states needs chief nursing officer in a political role that heads up nursing initiatives and the focus of our practice going forward. Having a National Nurse for Public Health would not only strengthen our profession, but it could do great things for healthcare as a whole.
Here are just a few things they would do:
- Support the Surgeon General’s Focus on Prevention
- Develop Nurses as Community Health Advocates
- Promote Professional Nursing
7.More Males in Nursing
Male nurses (or Murses, as Impact Nurse recently displayed video and commentary of) are but a fraction of our profession. They bring something different to the nursing ball field and I am thrilled with every new Y chromosome we add to our ranks. Encourage your male friends and family to pursue a nursing career. Having more men in our profession will only help to strengthen our causes.
Ways To Improve Nursing?
What are your thoughts on the current state of the nursing profession. What resolutions do you think we should have as a nursing profession? Do you agree or disagree with the above? Comment and let your voice be heard!
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8 thoughts on “7 Resolutions for the Nursing Profession”
My favorite is step 7 to have more male nurses. We are well past the day and age where gender plays a role in professionalism. I think many more men can step up into this role and provide some great nursing care!
Excellent list Brittney. I just sent this link to my daughter who is an ED nurse in a busy Chicago hospital. I think she will find it very relevant! Thanks!
Graduate programs at all hospitals is a solidifying the current direction of continue to discredit nursing programs. After personally going through and working with a nation wide nursing training program, I have found that the true answer for better preparing new grads is to get hospitals to work with neighboring schools to develop better curriculum and clinical experiences. Nursing students are getting brushed off until they graduate and then getting the proper training they deserve.
Several hospitals in Southern California eliminated their student nursing internship programs due to cutting costs but would rather pay up to 3 times the amount to put coordinate an intensive 4 month training program.
Excellent list!! Especially love #4…keep learning!! SO important not to become stagnant. In fact, my career is now devoted to online learning for nurses over at nurses.coursepark.com.
Also think #6 is a great idea! How do we make this happen?
Great list. I feel so blessed that I graduated 19 years ago, and had a 6 month graduate program that rotated through 3 different area.
I would add this:
Stop talking about long-term care nurses like we are the losers of the planet. I left ICU and OR to work in LTC and most of you who read this will say “oh, she must have done something wrong…”. No. I happen to feel a real commitment to our frail elders. Stop talking about managers like we are a bunch of idiots. “Manglement” anyone? Some of us have really do want to make a difference to those who we manage.
I really enjoy some of the nurse bloggers I read, so I look the other way when I see the above posts. But, it’s just more lateral violence, don’t you wonderful bloggers SEE that?
Whew. I feel better, at least until I see “manglement” in print again.
I am envious of your 6 month graduate program! I wish I would have had the ability to rotate through departments and be better prepared to care for patients.
I believe that there is a place that every nurse fits and some nurses fit best in long term care. While many feel the ER, unit, or OR are the more glamorous places to nurse, there are just as many nurses who would rather wear a toe-tag than work there. I think it’s all about what fits your skills and desires the best.
Management. You see there is a difference between being a leader and manager. I think a good manager is a leader. Unfortunately, not every nurse has had the exposure to positive leadership in management.
Manglement – now there’s a new one to me!
I do think that most of the anti-management posts come from a good place. They aren’t trying to bash managers as much as they are trying to empower staff-level nurses.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate the feedback and your honesty!
Awesome list! Add one? Treat the EMS crews with respect. Appreciate that although they are not RN’s, they ARE professionals. =))) Happy New Year!! Hope you have a wonderful 2012!!!
You are right Nicki! I also think this applies to RT, radiology, registration, and other departments. I’ve seen many snooty nurses who don’t treat everyone in healthcare like they are part of the team. No one of us can care for the patients by ourselves. We need each other and should treat each other with dignity and respect. No on is “just” an anything. We are are healthcare professionals.