A registered nurse is an individual who provides health care services to individuals, families, and groups of people to help them achieve their optimal level of health. Nurses can do this by working in one of several different areas. Some nurses provide direct care to patients, whether it be in community services such as schools, health clinics, wellness programs, home care, and doctors’ offices; or in hospital settings such as emergency, intensive care units, pediatric units, palliative units, maternity, etc.
Providing direct patient care is just one area of registered nursing. Some other areas provide education to nursing students or continuing education for already licensed nurses, administration, research and policies. So when we talk about registered nurses we are talking about a wide range of job opportunities. This is a career that provides you with the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, urban or rural. You can live in a small town like Sundre and still have a good paying reliable job. Many people think nursing is just giving bedside care to patients in hospital, when in fact nursing is a very diverse career choice.
So what does it take to be a nurse? Well for starters you need a big bladder and a small stomach, because pee breaks are far and few between, and meals breaks are on the fly. So if you meet those criteria you’re off to a good start.
But seriously, nurses are amazing and I believe that being a nurse is a calling: it is in our hearts. We are professionals with a high level of education and knowledge. We are taught critical thinking skills, communication skills, patient assessment skills and how to manage complex illnesses, and develop care plans and protocols to assist patients in achieving their optimum health.
Nurses are also compassionate and empathetic, without judgement towards another person who is suffering and help make a difference in their life. Nurses are respectful of their patients and treat them with dignity. Many people see nurses as a safe person and a support person. People trust us and will confide in us. Sometimes we know more about what is going on in a person’s life than their family does.
Nurses make differences in people’s lives every day. We are providing care for in hospital patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make connections with people and sometimes these connections will have a lasting impression on the patients; but a lot of the time it will also have a lasting impression on us as well.
Nurses need to be team players. We are only part of an amazing group of healthcare workers, we work alongside a multidisciplinary team of doctors, lab and X-ray techs, mental health, dieticians, respiratory, housekeeping staff, and the list goes on. We need to be able to effectively communicate the needs of our patients to these other groups because I believe we are like the core that helps all these other disciplines get their jobs done effectively. If doctors want to know how their patient is doing, they ask the nurse. If dieticians want to know how well the patient is eating, they ask the nurse.
We are privileged to be part of amazing experiences. We are present when life is brought into this world and we watch a baby take its first breaths of air and we are present to hug and hold and cry with family when their loved one takes their last breath.
Why I choose rural nursing. Because this multidisciplinary team I talked about is my work family. What we do in healthcare is confidential. We can’t go home and talk to our families about it. So we have our family here at work to talk about our stressful situations and debrief with. We have lots of laughs together and we treat each other’s as equals. Housekeeping, doctors, nurses, etc. we are a team.
The above is an excerpt from a presentation given by Registered Nurse, Chantal Crawford, during an RPAP-sponsored nursing skills and appreciation event in Sundre, Alberta on 8 May 2017. Check against delivery. Ms. Crawford has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the Red Deer College, and has been working as a Registered Nurse at the Sundre Hospital and Care Centre for the past eight years.