As a nursing student with deep career aspirations, I made three goals. I made personal, practice and scholarly goals. The motivation for each was different but the ultimate goal was to learn early the basics of nursing that will serve me over the whole length of my career.
Personal goal: rationale and motivation behind it
A certain types of medical terminology are used in clinical settings. There are the medication or drugs names, diseases & disease process, part of the body, medical treatments and symptoms and so on(Susan, William, & Rima, 2009). My study plan focused on disease & disease process, parts of the body and medical treatments and symptoms. In addition, I practiced to know various abbreviations that I don’t know.
To improve medical terminology skills, it was necessary to prepare study tool such as medical dictionary to search, memorize and analyze the unknown words. I purchased the medical dictionary to use as a study tool. Whenever I found unknown medical terminology from text book, lectures, lab class and at work, I wrote the words down on my notebook. Study plan was made from 06/09-24/10. Unknown words that I found from the various sources, I wrote them down on my note with including date. Then I looked the words up the medical dictionary and highlighted them to memorize easily. Once I wrote unknown words in my note, I tried to read it again to memorize it. When I started work in a private hospital as an AIN, I found abbreviations that I don't know in Handover sheets. I made a highlight on the words and wrote them down on my note then look them up the medical dictionary.
Medical terminology is complicated and unfamiliar and understanding of medical terminology is necessary to effective communication in clinical situations.
Practice goal: rationale and motivation behind it
Communication skills in nursing can be identified, such as concise and accurate speech, active listening, empathy and interviewing skills (Simon et al., 2002). I chose the book that I can practice to improve communication skills; relevant chapters were selected in my practice. Each chapter has activity part that I can assess my current communication skills and especially with patients. Then I could recognize my level of communication skills as I answered the questions. This book provides useful knowledge and suggestions as a guideline in interpersonal skills in nursing. It contains various activities that can self - assess and self- study. It focuses on interaction with patients to communicate effectively in clinical settings (Stein- Parbury, 2005). When I was on last clinical placement, my facilitator recommended watching medical drama that shows in various situations in a hospital environment. When she suggested the choice of Grey's Anatomy everyone who were in a same group with me agreed that 'Grey's Anatomy' is fun and good to learn in various medical situations. Then I purchased that DVD season l to 5 that contains lost of episodes. I made a plan to watch through it from 06/09 to 31/11. While I was watching through, I tried to find clues on how I can deal with various clinical situations, the way to communicate with patients in real situations and how communication skills is applied to the real situations. I tried to practice in my clinical placement and let the facilitator to assess my communication skills.
Scholarly goal: rationale and the motivation behind it
Critical thinking and analysis is required as a registered nurse in nursing practice. The registered nurses should be able to identify problems and issues in their nursing practice. It is necessary to demonstrate analytical skills and to improve nursing skills with evaluation of their performance (ANMC). I focused on Tanner's model of critical thinking. I collected a few articles or journals to learn on critical thinking through reading and reviewing. While I was on the clinical placement, I made a note for the day on what happened and what could be a critical thinking in the situations. I attempted to demonstrate analytical skills in my clinical placement. If I was not sure on some issues or problems, I tried to search for information and ask other students and registered nurses and facilitators. When I was on clinical placement, I focused on nursing clinical assessment based on clinical judgment.
Firstly, I focused on patient's physiological difference, psychological status, cultural difference and social needs. Mostly, I practiced to do patient's observations and blood glucose level. In addition, I attempted to do assessment for pre operative, cardiovascular, abdominal and pain assessment. Secondly, I tried to interpret data and identify potential health risk to look for the information and ask someone else. In next, I attempted to look for the direction or any procedure in nursing practice and try to understand. Also, I practiced to give handover to registered nurse and facilitator verbally. I participated in administration of medication to identify medication error and how one could prevent it. Lastly, I attempted to make self evaluation for my own nursing practice during the clinical placement and identify strength and weakness in my work.
Critical evaluation and new insights
Reflections on personal goals
From the start, my personal goal was to improve medical terminology skills for clinical placement this semester. During my first clinical placement, I had a difficulty knowing about medical terminology and it affected my performance of clinical placement and the confidence in my nursing skills as well. After I spoke to the facilitator, I realized the need to improve my medical terminology skills and to make a plan for studying. My choice was the medical dictionary and medical own note book. I noticed that lots of abbreviations are being used in hospitals so I decided to look up any abbreviations that I didn’t know the meaning.
The range of medical terminology was quite huge not like I thought, so I had to change my plan to make it easier and realistic. I would pick up an unknown medical terminology from textbooks, lectures notes and handover sheet from my work. My initial plan was to pick unknown words up and look them up with using dictionary and write them down on my notes on a daily basis. However, looking up unknown words from the dictionary took me longer than I had expected. Therefore, I was not able to take notes everyday. I aimed to practice the words I wrote on my notes as much as I could. However, practicing the words required lots of time and effort. In contrast, Studying for abbreviations was useful in contributing to my clinical placement and work. Once I looked up unknown abbreviations, I could then use the words as long as I worked and it helped me to remember the words completely. When I was on clinical placement this semester, I was not embarrassed like last semester. In any case, I already was studying medical terminology on my own and this made me even more confident in my clinical placement. I found that studying medical terminology for a short term is not reasonable because there are lots of medical terminologies in clinical settings.
Therefore, I need to make a long term plan for medical terminology study. Graduates of the Faculty of Nursing Midwifery and Health expect that UTS students will be able to write into their nursing practice by learning academic and professional writing practices. Studying medical terminology does not only involve knowing about the words but also about improving written communication in nursing practice. Once I started to study medical terminology, I started to realize the importance of contemporary clinical information which invariably contains lots of medical terminology and abbreviations. During the clinical placement, I practiced writing nursing notes on ward and I tried to use the medical terminology I had studied already. I still need to improve my nursing progress note and studying medical terminology helps me a lot to develop my professional nursing notes. ANMC requires registered nurse should be able to demonstrate their awareness and understanding of development in nursing and maintain current knowledge and professional standards into practice (ANMC, 2005). While I was on clinical placement, I realized that it is hard to understand any assessment and nursing process without knowing medical terminology. The study of medical terminology helps me to understand basic knowledge of any assessment and nursing process.
Reflections on practice and scholarly goals
My practice goal was to improve on my communication skills with the patient. I must say that I learned useful lessons during the practice. I remember a case where I had helped an 82 year old shower and dress. Moments later, the old man was removing the shirt, I had just helped him put on. Puzzled, I asked him why. He told me that he did not feel fit on it, and besides I had made that choice for him without asking his opinion. I learned that communicating with the patient should be from the point of view of his/her needs. The behavior of the patients can be understood if his/her needs are understood by the caregiver. I leaned a lot from watching the DVDS and from fellow nurses. I am more confident on how to handle various nursing situations and I am more comfortable communicating with patients. Analytical skills are developed with practice and as one continue into the career, they definitely become better because of experience. But because analysis is procedural I was able to develop analytical skills to some point. However, I feel that accomplishment of scholarly goal is a career long process and the best thing I learned was that I should continue learning.
Identification of learning
Clinical placement gave me an invaluable insight in to the daily work of a nurse as a caregiver. I learned all the real things nurses do. Looking back at what I saw being done, I know now what to place emphasis on now. For instance, I found that medical terminologies are widely used in actual practice and it would be hard for a real nurse to show some competence without a certain command of them. I also learned the invaluable skills of communication first hand. But it is the lessons on planning goals, workg on their achievement, reflecting and analyzing them that bear more on my nursing practice.