Working in the field of Allied Medicine is an amazing and at the same time, challenging opportunity. One of the reasons I found why this is so is the truth that it requires great time, effort, and even sacrifices to know how to address some of the medical needs of a patient but at the end of the line, being able to successfully treat a patient and make dramatic changes to his life provides a fulfilling feeling, a sense of achievement if you will. The objective of this paper is to outline my perceptions on professional nursing practice, what I think the role of a nurse in advanced practice settings is, my personal and professional clinical experience in nursing, other non-nursing related experiences that I think would be relevant to my personal and professional growth, my goals and rationales for joining a graduate program.
Discussion of Concepts
I am a graduate of Master of Healthcare Administration and Management (MHA: GPA 3.67) from National University; of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Dayan Medical College and Hospital; and an affiliate of DMC&H Ludhiana on their research on Kangaroo Mother Care. Despite my achievement of these academic milestones, I still find myself craving for knowledge and upgrades in this field.
According to Henderson (1966), “the unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery or to a peaceful death that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge and to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible” .
Throughout my years as a nursing student and my years in professional nursing practice, I always see to it that my ideas and perceptions are backed by evidence and established theories and concepts because such theories and concepts would serve as my guide in doing my job of improving the lives of my patients, their families, and even an entire community easier, and preferably more efficient. I have always seen Virginia Henderson’s definition of nursing as the most comprehensive one around. In my years of professional experience, generally as a nurse, in different hospitals, in the industry, I can say that I have religiously followed this guiding principle based on evidence-based practice. I have worked as a Staff Nurse in APS Charitable Hospital from 2006-2007; as a Staff Nurse in City Nursing Home from 2007-2009; as a Clerical and Patient Care Volunteer in Children’s Hospital Central Valley Acute Care Hospital from 2012 up to present; and as an RN in Long Term Acute Care Facility from October 2012 up to the present. With all these professional experience, I can say that I already have good grasp of the dos and don’ts in the field, in a clinical setting at that; and that I have what it takes, in terms of skills, ability, experience, and most importantly, desire, to finally upgrade my current knowledge and skills set.
Theoretical Framework for Professional Practice
I have decided to use an established theoretical framework derived from one of the products of the lifetime work of Virginia Henderson in the field of nursing, specifically, the 14 Components of Basic Nursing Care. Those 14 components include :
- Normal Breathing
- Adequate food and drink
- Proper elimination of body wastes
- Proper Posture
- Selection of suitable clothes, dress
- Maintenance of normal body temperature through proper clothing or by modifying the environment (i.e. air-conditioning)
- Sanitation and grooming
- Avoidance of injury towards self and others
- Communication of emotions, needs, opinions, fear, and etc.
- Ability to practice own faith
- Sense of accomplishment through work
- Hobbies and recreation
- Normal health, growth and development through access to healthcare and wellness facilities
My View of the Role of Nursing in Advanced Practice Settings
I view the role of nursing in advanced practice settings as something that is not only related to the medical needs of the patient but on his needs as a person as a whole. I always hope that by religiously basing my nursing practice, even in advanced care or practice settings, on the 14 Components of Basic Nursing Care, my efforts and work as a nurse would lead to positive results for my patients. The role of the nurse in any nursing care setting, including both the basic and advanced practice setting, does not only involve addressing the medical needs of a patient but also his other needs, as outlined by the 14 components I have just mentioned.
My Clinical Experience in Nursing
I would not be the person I am today without the experiences I have encountered in the field of nursing. After countless hours of interacting with patients coming from different culture and places, I have learned how to handle and adapt to people with different character and personality and still manage to get the job done despite the presence of psychosocial barriers to effective treatment. I have also learned how to be resourceful and how to teach my patients, and also myself to live with the available means. These things are for me, the most important highlights of my clinical experience in nursing that motivate me to proceed further in the field by enrolling in a graduate nursing program.
My Non-nursing experiences that were Relevant to my Professional Growth
When I was a child, I always see in televisions and in hospitals how professional and smart nurses look like. Ever since then, I have included the goal of being a nurse in my possible dreams of the future. This may sound very stereotypical or even romantic but the truth is, every dream, no matter how huge or small that dream is, starts at childhood. As I grew up, I have always had positive impressions and perceptions for nurses and what they do. And so here I am, living my childhood dream, and pursuing it on an entirely new level, by attempting to enroll in a graduate nursing program.
When I worked as an RN Physician Super User, I have worked closely with physicians and nurses from different departments and solved their power note issues. This was a non-nursing related clinical experience that helped me understand doctors and nurses and how they input different forms of patient data. In almost any form of medical operation, documentation and storage of patient records can be very important. I believe that the same is true for family nurse practitioners. My knowledge in Electronic Health Records shall help me become a more effective and efficient family nurse practitioner in the future.
My Goals for Graduate Education
I always consider the effects of the decisions I make on the people around me and thinking about the decision of pursuing a higher degree of education in the field of nursing only makes me think that it would be best not only for me but also for my patients if I would upgrade my knowledge and skills in taking care of them, compared to becoming stagnant and relying on less formal modes of educating and updating my knowledge and skills in the nursing discipline. I have always been haunted by the thought of being stagnant and not being able to provide the best care for my patients and so my main goal in pursuing a graduate education is to update and upgrade my knowledge and skills in nursing practice for the sake of the patients I will handle in the future.
In summary, I believe that nursing care is not only about providing a medically-centered patient care but about providing a holistic form of patient care that does not only involve the medical needs of a patient but also his other needs as a person. One of the established theories in the field that could support this perception would be Henderson’s works in the field of nursing which include a comprehensive and a realistic definition of nursing and some 14 components of basic nursing care. Both my nursing and non-nursing related experiences inspired me to pursue a higher degree of education in the field of nursing. My main goal or reason for doing so is to be able to upgrade and update my nursing skills and knowledge so that I can be sure that I would only be delivering the best possible or the highest quality of care for my patients. Being guided by these principles, theories, and by my years of professional clinical experience in the field, I can say that I am fully ready and deserving to enroll into the Family Nurse Practitioner Program.
Henderson, V. (1966). The Nature of Nursing: A Definition of its IMplications for Practice, Research and Education. New York: Macmillan, 15.
Henderson, V. (1991). The Nature of Nursing: Reflection after 25 Years. National League of Nursing Press, 19.