The nursing profession of which I am a current student, uniquely creates sacred moments for health and healing while making a difference in the lives of thousands of patients on a daily basis. Nurses, key members of the multidisciplinary team, are at the forefront of restorative processes and interventions in the prevention and treatment of diseases. Sometimes healing may be as simple as taking a pill or may require surgical wound care or suture removal after surgery. At other times however, nursing interventions are not this simple. Health restoration and healing maybe the result of a lengthy, complex recovery process requiring emergency medical life-saving techniques. Nurses therefore need to be aptly prepared both at the mental and physical levels to make each patientcare encounter a successful outcome. Optimal mental and physical preparation however, is not attained in a moment’s notice but must be practiced and enforced on a day by day basis. Several strategies exist for nurses and those like myself aspiring to be nurses, prepare mentally and physically prior to performing life-saving techniques on patients entrusted to our care. These include; strong support systems, inspirational reading combined with music therapy, practicing relaxation techniques and incorporating personal self-care.
For appropriate mental preparation prior to performing live-saving techniques on patients as a nurse, I would first ensure that I have strong support systems that include friends and family. This is important for emotional health and wellness especially when confronted with challenging situations and negative outcomes. Strong support systems create opportunities for healing and recovery without having to disclose patients’ names or specific details. Support persons act as burden-bearers, empathizers, cheer leaders, coaches and encouragers in times of difficult and loss. Indeed, a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing difficult situations is an effective strategy in reducing stress and pain.
A second strategy that I would use to help me prepare mentally, is the use of inspirational reading combined with music therapy. Applying daily inspirational, motivational reading effectively grooms the mental capacities for life’s difficult, hard moments and inspire me to perform at my level best. Daily inspirational, motivational reading can boost moods and inspire nurses and transform each patient encounter which in turn creates great returns on investment through rewarding moments. Along with inspirational, motivational reading, I would also utilize daily music therapy, which has been shown to soothe the mind, alleviate pain, promote relaxation, relieve stress and generate positive thoughts. This enhances nurses’ performance and promotes positive nurse-patient encounters and outcomes.
The third strategy to help me prepare mentally is the practice of relaxation techniques. Two beneficial techniques are massages and pedicures. While nursing is a very rewarding career, it is at times also stressful, especially for patientcare encounters requiring life-saving techniques. Massages and pedicures relieve stress and tension, promotes relaxation and improves circulation, which keeps vital organs well oxygenated thereby improving and sustaining alertness and memory, essential attributes required during life-saving techniques.
At the physical level, I would prepare to perform live-saving techniques by applying personal self-care such as; obtaining adequate sleep, practicing healthy eating and regular physical activity and observing schedule breaks at work.
Adequate sleep of between 7 to 9 hours for adults, strengthens the body, improves alertness, promotes safety and enhances memory through consolidation. Remembering skills and practicing safety are especially important to nurses, since most of their duties require the safe application of skills, particularly the performance of live-saving techniques. Indeed, tonight’s rest is tomorrow’s energy. No rest, no energy! Additionally, people who are sleep deprived have a slower reaction time, takes longer to finish tasks and make more accidents than those who achieve obtain adequate sleep. In the performance of live-saving techniques, adequate sleep is paramount, as time is of essence and accidents would compromise patientcare outcomes.
Another vial component of personal self-care in preparing to perform live-saving techniques is practicing healthy eating and obtaining adequate hydration. Balanced meals provide essential nutrients that nourish and repair the body. Without these vital nutrients illnesses would result which would render nurses ineffective to care for patients including performance of live-saving techniques. Balanced, healthy meals should include whole grains, plenty non-starchy vegetables, fruits lean, and ground meat and fish. This means avoiding calorie-dense, sugary, fatty foods that provide mainly calories and few nutrients. Adequate hydration requires 64 to 80 ounces of non-calorie fluids daily. Healthy eating should begin with breakfast. Thus nurses should ‘rise and dine’. Breakfast benefits are critically for alertness and providing energy for the brain to function is peak performance especially when performing live-saving techniques.
Regular physical activity is also beneficial in preparing to perform live-saving techniques. It minimizes stress, creates restful states, strengthens the bones, promotes weight loss and enhances mental health and mood. People who are physical fit also tend to be more confident and demonstrate a high level of control. These are all excellent qualities required by nurses to enhance productivity and create successful patient outcomes. Recommendations for physical activity involves exercising 4 to 5 times weekly for 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.
I would also practice observing all scheduled breaks at work to help enhance concentration and memory. This is especially important since most nurses work 12-hour shifts.
Appropriate prior mental and physical preparation are key strategies for successful performance in any life-saving techniques. Thus, as a nursing student I do seek to apply as many of these strategies to promote successful, patientcare encounters and experience.