The past few weeks I have tried to explain what nursing means to me and how I practice my craft. I didn’t realize how much of a literal web of connections I see when I think of nursing and caring for people. The tangle of data that comes from thorough assessment, listening to what isn’t said, observing interactions/reactions and the pursuit of knowledge through research.
There are so many connections between someone’s past and their current experience. You can see how those connections influence their reactions, expectations and coping during their current experience. There are so many connections that influence everything about a person. How they react to wellness, illness and all the in between stages being some of them. Being able to see and seek out those connections is for me apart of the art of nursing. It is a large part of my paradigm of nursing, my lens through which I view everything.
What happens when there isn’t enough time to gather aqequate information to assist in care or anticipate needs?
Thinking about our current healthcare system and listening to the stories of those practicing currently at the bedside, I am often left wondering how we can do better. I hear from colleagues often that they are unable to provide the level of care they need to and most importantly that they feel great despair over patient outcomes that in hindsight could have been different if they had the time to really gather their assessment data and time to analyze it. To do all the things we have been taught to do. That despair bothers me. Both as a nurse and as a person who has needs in our healthcare system. Despair often leads to apathy. Apathy is the enemy of people who are tasked with the role of caregivers.
There is no way that a nurse or any healthcare professional can see all the connections, anticipate all the reactions and understand all the needs. We rely on our assessment abilities to gather the information and to help us develop a plan with our patients and their families. If our health systems are not set up to sustain the level of investigation and connection identification that needs to be made to provide healthcare that is appropriate and timely is it any wonder that health professionals feel unable to provide quality care, that they experience despair and that apathy seems to be anecdotally growing in the field of healthcare?
Is it possible that our lack of time for care in healthcare has contributed to our inability to connect and see connections? I think that maybe our lack of time is at the root of many of our problems. Now, the real questions is how to fix it…….?