Sadly this is my final week in my current position and I am moving on to manage a public health clinic for the state. While I am excited about the prospects of going to sleep every night I am sad to leave a number of people behind. I have had some amazing coworkers without whom I would not be able to have done my job. Together we have both eased others suffering, probably caused a some irritation to others and saved lives as well as helped some pass as easily as we were able. I was in the middle of training a new nurse to the floor and I regret not being able to finish out his orientation. Unlike a number of nurses I know and have worked with I really enjoy working with new nurses and students. They are going to be our coworkers and maybe even our bosses so I want to make sure they know what they are doing. Reflecting on where we were in our training I realized that I really was focusing not on specific aspects of nursing but more on teamwork and communication. Honestly I think anyone could be a nurse. A monkey (albeit a smart one) could be trained to select the right pills or wrap a wound. OK that is an exaggeration but when I am handing out Oxycodone every four hours or pushing morphine every two I don’t often feel very accomplished. So what was it that I was trying to impress upon this new RN? Three main concepts that can be picked up and put into any situation:
Ask for help when you need it.
Accept help when it is offered.
Offer to help when you are able.
All the rest are just tasks and checklists. Yes they are important and they must be learned to be accomplished properly in order to maintain patient safety and your safety, but really they are just skills and they can be taught. Communication and teamwork is what is essential. None of us can accomplish this alone. Hospitals these days seem to be very crowded and very busy and maybe it’s just me but patients are getting sicker and sicker. As healthcare professionals we have to be on the top of our game to care for these people who trust us to do right by them. The good news is that none of us is ever alone unless we chose to be. There are other nurses and Charge RN’s, Respiratory, Pharmacy, Rapid Response ( I love those folks) and even Docs there to help you help your patients. All you have to do it reach out.