Archive for February, 2011

Not ‘JUST/ONLY’ A Nurse……

February 7th, 2011 | General Nursing | 2 Comments

My running coach has a jar called the “Only Jar”. Every time someone uses the word ‘only’ to precede a particular run distance (example: only a 10km run), they owe the “Only Jar” money.

  • Self-deprecating talk amongst runners may lower self-esteem.
  • Self-deprecating talk amongst nurses may influence patient well-being and safety.

“Professional nurses are often in the best position to serve as a barrier between a patient and an adverse event. (Beyea, 2008)”

Nurses have an important responsibility as patient advocates.

“Professional Relationships and Advocacy” is one of the six Standards for Nursing Practice developed by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia.

Though we know that advocacy is important and even required of us as nurses, being an advocate for a patient, family, or community is not always easy. Advocating may mean needing to step outside of our comfort zones. Sometimes it may seem easier to say, “ I can’t do that, I am only a nurse”.

However taking the easy way out is not going to benefit anyone, not us and certainly not the patient. It may even constitute negligence!

In Cruzbinsky v. Doctors’ Hospital (1983), a circulating nurse was ordered by the

physician to leave the operating room before the patient had been sent to the PACU.  Although the nurse initially questioned the order, she finally left at the doctor’s insistence. After her departure, the patient arrested, suffering significant permanent damage.  The patient then brought suit against the hospital and the nurse for abandonment (Guido, 2001).

Why not “Just/Only a Nurse”?

  • You went to nursing school. You have the KNOWLEDGE.
  • You passed the exam. You are a Certified RN, LPN, RPN.
  • You are the patient’s ADVOCATE

You couldn’t call yourself a nurse if you didn’t have what it takes. If you find that you are having a hard time advocating for your patients, talk to a colleague, mentor, or manager. They may be able to help you develop your assertiveness and leadership skills- important qualities to possess in order to advocate effectively.

Stay tuned….