What is Nursing & What Do Nurses Do?

The nursing profession is an occupation that requires a great deal of dedication, self-perseverance, knowledge, and skill in order to appropriately facilitate the needs of those under nursing care. Whilst nursing remains a fast-paced and often challenging discipline to master, it also holds a rewarding career path. In order to successfully work in this area, the reflective practice remains a fundamental part of nursing. One key attribute that is required of all practicing health professionals insists on the refinement of one’s own pedagogy.

This essay aims to explore reflective practice in all aspects of nursing and the benefits this has on future patients.

Reflection is the process of self-evaluation and can be exhibited across all aspects of life. It is not only vital for the progression of one’s own self-development but also to identify and distinguish the actions that have to lead a person to grasp the fundamental skills and knowledge required to perform and carry out a given task.

Reflective practice is not only important for all Registered Nurses but for many health and non-health professions all over the world – for example, Education. Goulet, Larue & Alderson (2016, pg. 140) agree that within ‘the discipline of nursing, reflective practice has become so important a concept that it is now included in the standards of practice of professional bodies in Canada and the United Kingdom’. Here, it is understandably clear that reflective practice is not only a fundamental part of nursing but also a vital interdisciplinary skill that is recurrently used across a diverse range of progressive fields.

Before a trained health professional can be approved with the entitlement to practice, it is expected that certain key skills and attributes have been appropriately addressed and verified. The annual Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey (2017) declares that ‘health professionals have continued their domination of Australia’s most highly regarded professions with 94% of Australians (up 2% from 2016) rating Nurses ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for their ‘ethics and honesty’ (Morgan, 2017). Additionally, the Midwifery and Nursing Board of Australia [MNBA] (2012) insists that nurses must demonstrate professional values such as respectfulness, responsiveness, compassion, trustworthiness and integrity’ toward all areas of practice, and toward all patients entrusted under their care.

Integrity is a vital obligation, particularly when a patient enlists their trust and confidence in one’s own professional medical care, they expect that all of their medical needs will be met with both certainty and efficiency. Compassion allows the nurse to connect to a patient on a professional level. Being able to communicate effectively is an example of an invaluable skill that ensures that the ‘passing on’ of information remains accurate, fluent, and documented for the extended use of health care professionals, family members, patients, or for self-reflection. Moreover, it is a nurses’ responsibility and the requirement to own and use a Reflective Diary. This is to ensure the highest standard of care is maintained to benefit patients. The consequences of Reflective Practice are similar between the fields of Education and Nursing, ‘but there are aspects specific to nursing that derive from the relational nature of the discipline, namely empathy, compassion, and caring’ (Goulet, Larue & Alderson, 2016).

To conclude, reflection and reflective practice are everyday actions that nursing professionals must perform to maintain the highest standards of care for patients within all health care settings. Nurses are required to undertake reflective practice as stated by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [MNBA] in order to reflect on experiences, knowledge, actions, feelings, beliefs and to learn from potential incidents. Self-awareness is the foundation skill through which reflective practice is based upon and allows nurses to provide improved and valued care to future patients.

My goal is to achieve a Diploma of Health Care at Griffith College through two semesters in order to be accepted into the Bachelor of Midwifery program at Griffith University. My expectations within the Diploma is to have exceptional attendance and to complete all assignments on time and to the best of my ability in order to progress towards my dream career. My personal strengths include, though are not limited to, perseverance, patience, and caring nature. My personal attributes, such as being empathetic, intuitive, friendly, and confident, will assist in my future role as a Midwife in that my patients will entrust me in supporting them through pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period.

At present, I am able to participate in curricular activities within my course of study through attending laboratory classes and obtaining all necessary Clinical Mandatory Requirements (CMR) through a checklist of necessary vaccinations, training courses, and security checks by May 2019 in order to participate in placements within the Bachelor of Midwifery. In the near future, I hope to participate in extracurricular activities such as volunteer work at a local hospital, health clinic, or women’s health center to gain the necessary experience as an aspiring midwife. Other extracurricular activities include reading books directly related to midwifery and speaking with current midwives to gain further insight and knowledge. I am extremely interested in women and their health surrounding pregnancy, physically and mentally, therefore I feel that I believe I would be a respectful and personable advocate and care-giver for women in the future.

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