Professional Nursing Roles

            Working as a nurse is a busy job. Apart from the daily normal patient visits, a nurse has to attend to emergency cases that are brought during one’s shift. Being a registered nurse requires one to deliver and coordinate comprehensive patient care. This requires the nurse to be readily available, have broad medical knowledge, use the local healthcare system effectively, and give emphasis to the patient’s health (Finkelman& Kenner, 2010). This implies that such a nurse has to take sufficient time when dealing with each of these clients. Offering enough time to each of the patients creates a positive patient-nurse relationship that eventually leads to increases patient satisfaction. Patients require quality healthcare as well as enough time with their nurses to have their questions answered (Batalden& Kerrigan, 2010). This is an important aspect that nurses need to understand that their quality healthcare comprises of several aspects and all lead to improved patient satisfaction. Further, irrespective of the quality of time a nurse has to give to each patient vs. the number of patients he has to see in a day as well as the home visits she has to make, the physician works under limited time. Nevertheless, people in the society hold so many stereotypes regarding nurses that make their work complicated. Nurses have been portrayed as Angels of mercy, mother figures, handmaidens, martinets, and sex symbols. They have to deal with all these societal expectations and ensure that they improve the lives of their patients, which is the main role in their profession.   

Health Promotion/ Care Provider

Patient satisfaction, which is the main source of health promotion results from a combination of several factors. Among these is quality time between the patient and the nurse. When a nurse takes quality time with his patients, there is improved patient-nurse relationship as well as decreased healthcare costs. Nurses need face-to-face interaction with the patients to gather information, maintain knowledge base, and do administrative visits. As noted by Robinson, Gould and Strosahl (2011), patients who report spending less time with their nurses are less satisfied and argue that if the nurse had more time with them, they could be more satisfied with the healthcare service rendered. It is notable that patients who have more time with their nurses are more likely to follow the physician’s instructions and this improves their health by encouraging them to follow the prescriptions and other directives (Provost& Murray, 2011). Further, patients feel that the nurses sympathize with their situation when they spend quality time with them listening and analyzing their situations.

Since the days of Florence Nightingale, nurses have carried out medically delegated tasks that are meant to improve patients’ health. The nurse not only carries out nursing roles but also diagnoses and treats human responses to actual and potential health problems. She has to ensure that the patient and his family are adapting to the physiological and psychosocial effects of illness. This is through establishment of a strong and positive relationship with the patient and his family. The patient, relieved of those burdens that impede physical and psychological progress, truly begins to heal. Additionally, nurses have to make independent decisions and actions guided by their professional ethics and roles/ duties to ensure that they make a difference between health and permanent disability, life or death(Kraegel&Kachoyeanos, 1990). A good example is the case in which a nurse is required in attendance in the dead of night when the executive with a coronary has a cardiac arrest. Further, nurses are the ones who will detect fetal distress during labor. Additionally, when the hospital sends the patient home prematurely because his care is no longer reimbursed under DRGs or the HMO, it is the nurse who will go into the home and turn chaos into order.

Teacher and Learner

Nurses act as both teachers and learners. As teachers they provide patient education while as leaners, they have to continuously improve their professional expertise and skills through research and academic learning in order to offer the best quality services to their patients. It is the role of nurses to educate patients to live healthily and avoid some of the illnesses resulting from the unhealthy acts. Nurses have to go round educating people on how to avoid overweight issues. They are aware of the best ways to prevent overweight. Nurses also understand the health consequences of experiencing burnout and thus should avoid it and educate their patients to do the same. Nurses should educate the patients their role in the treatment process and promoting one’s health. They should understand why they have to take the prescribed medication and the right dosages (Finkelman& Kenner, 2010).

            Nursing practice is a profession that requires continuous learning. In order to ensure ‘good’ practices, nurses should need to improve their philosophical, theoretical knowledge, and intellectual bases. Nurses are thus required to broaden their knowledge bases using a checks and balance system. This is because nurses are faced by changing issues that they are not accustomed to. It is possible for nurses to employ similar practices when dealing with recurrent situations. However, some instances call for change. For instance, when nurses are faced with disasters, they are pushed to employ different methods in their practices lest they jeopardize the health of the society involved. As a result, nurses should ensure that the link between practice, theory, disciplinary goals, and philosophy is strengthened. This calls for both ‘knowing how’ and knowing that’. Knowing that is knowledge learned from books and clinical experiences. On the other hand, knowing how requires nurses to apply the learned knowledge. This is an indication that nurses should be able to build their knowledge bases and apply it as required in the nursing field in order to become advanced nurses. As noted by Robinson, Gould and Strosahl (2011), nursing practice requires continuous search for knowledge. Even though they are qualified as nurses upon graduation, nurses should continue to advance their knowledge and not stick to the same practices. This calls for behavioral learning theory, which requires that nurses change their nursing practices with change in technology and based on the surrounding circumstances.   

Nurse as a Leader and Manager

            Leadership and management in nursing are as important as they are in other organizations. Even though there are different leadership styles that are different organizations employ, the major ones employed in the nursing profession are directive, supportive, participative, building social exchanges, and followership. It is easy to become a leader in nursing if a person decides to dedicate his life in serving others. A leader can be defined a person who organizes and influences others (followers) to achieve certain common goals. Nevertheless, nurses as leadersare required to direct others and especially their patients to follow the prescriptions and the treatment process, be supportive in the decisions made by their patients, encourage the patients to participate in the treatment process since this improves health, and ensure strong and positive relationships with the patients and their families (Robinson, Gould &Strosahl, 2011).

            In nursing, there are several factors that determine the kind of leadership style to be employed at a particular point of time. Irrespective of the leadership style employed, nurses’ leadership must be guided by laid down professional ethics. Out of these nursing delivery models, participatory model is the best. This is because in encourages patients to be actively involved in their treatment process. This way, they are able to be educated on their role in the treatment process. They also have an ample room to ask for any clarification. It ensures a healthy relationship between the patient and the nurses (Provost& Murray, 2011)

Perception of a Nurse

The public perceives nurses as Angels of mercy, mother figures, handmaidens, martinets, and sex symbols. Nurses are expected to change the world to be a better place in which no one gets sick. They are also expected to be role models and ensure that they do not engage in unhealthy activities such as smoking since they are supposed to educate their patients to avoid them. They are expected to engage in all healthy behaviors so as to be good leaders who lead their patients by example. Nevertheless, nurses are flesh-and-blood human beings who gripe, laugh, swear, sweat, dream, make mistakes, win, and lose just like everyone else. The public wants a nurse to be a warm, caring human being (Kraegel&Kachoyeanos, 1990). These stereotypes make it hard for nurses to live normal and free lives like other people.

These stereotypes do not affect me as a nurse. I know what is expected of me and since I am guided by professional ethics in my practice, I ensure that I do what is right. I understand my roles perfectly and through continuous learning, I ensure promotion of health. However, I do not engage in activities that will mislead my patients. For instance, I cannot smell of alcohol or tobacco when I am educating a patient suffering from chest problems to quit smoking. 

Conclusion

            Effective nursing requires continuous learning so that the nurses keep in pace with changing technology and the increasing demands in the society. It requires a nurse to determine the best nursing practices and leadership roles that will ensure health promotion. Nurses should also act as both leaders and followers as they educate and also learn/ listen to their patients. Further, there are stereotypes held by the society regarding nursing that should not shake a nurse and prevent her from carrying on her roles effectively. A nurse should remember that he is guided by professional ethics and roles that dictate what should be done.           

References

Batalden, P. B., & Kerrigan, C. L. (2010).Lesson learned in changing healthcare: --and how we learned from. Toronto: Longwoods Pub.

Finkelman, A. W., & Kenner, C. (2010).Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Kraegel, J., &Kachoyeanos, M. (1990).Just a nurse. New York: Dell Publishing.

Provost, L. P., & Murray, S. K. (2011).The health care data guide: Learning from data for improvement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Robinson, P., Gould, D., &Strosahl, K. (2011).Real Behavior Change in Primary Care: Improving Patient Outcomes and Increasing Job Satisfaction. New York: New Harbinger Publications.