This post is of a past Journal entry from one of my nursing classes documenting my time at the nursing home. This one in particular is about introducing oneself to staff and patients. (Just for clarity these will be in the What? So what? Now what? format we have to do for class).
As I prepared for my first day of clinical feelings of excitement and anxiety surged through me. I needed an outlet to calm myself down and also somehow start memorizing the “I have confidence” song sung in “The Sound of Music” in a needed time for courage. In failing to find a copy of the film I opted for a more service oriented option, making muffins for the girls I would pick up in the morning for clinical. As I mixed in the required amounts of ingredients I mulled over some of the things I needed to remember for the next day, putting the stethoscope in the right way, check; ironed scrubs that hopefully no one will pull on because I am too short to find ones that actually fit, check; hand sanitizer because when all else fails I still know how to preform proper hand hygiene, check! How was I going to tackle my biggest fear of really interacting with the patients and staff? Remembering what I learned in communications lab, one check for priceless! I knew that just like the muffins I was making blending together just the right amount of politeness, professionalism, humor, and the skills I learned was going to either create a masterpiece of delicious blueberry muffins, I mean a positive experience in communicating with others, or a flat affect of meaningless words( or bland muffins). I reviewed in my head how to introduce myself to those I was reporting to versus those I would be taking care of the next day.
My first introduction of the day was to my CNA C. It did not quite go as planned, my name was called out as to whom I would be working with and I followed her with my buddy to the first patient's room. It was through out the rest of the day that we got to know each other but I felt from the get go she was just ready to get things done and move on with her day. She often went ahead with her normal routine without introducing us, which was good because then at least I could practice my skills with the patients I interacted with during care. I found that talking to the patient's about normal things helped them feel at ease and comfortable with the care we were giving them. I saw how C interacted with her patients and how she really knew them. She would joke around with them and know what to say to help them understand and cooperate. I was able to introduce myself to lots of patients some were very welcoming while others made little or no response. Most of the time the only thing I could get out was my name and that we would be helping them that day. Beyond that there usually was either no understanding of what I was doing there or they would start in to how their granddaughter's name was Whittles! During lunch I was able to help a woman eat her food who all the while I was talking to her said nothing but would laugh every once in a while. I found that in my particular environment people were friendly and carefree about how they interacted with each other. It really felt like a home, in the sense that everyone felt welcome and had their place of contribution. It was difficult to tell who were the nurses and the CNAs because everyone treated each other as equals.
I learned that regardless of educational status each person's expertise should be respected and treated as a valuable addition to the overall team. Just like each ingredient despite its quantity is needed for the overall product of making muffins. It is important to make yourself known regardless of circumstance. You are not there just to provide skilled hands but comfort and assurance to those whom you care for in the clinical setting. I hope in my own practice I will remember to introduce those students or aides which might be working with me to the patients. It was good practice for me to speak to the woman the whole time who would not respond because I feel that it helped remind me that regardless of the patient's circumstance they should always be informed. Just like no matter how many times I have made a Betty Crocker's muffin mix I still need the information of correct ingredients to make the desired product.
In the end the muffins were delicious and clinical was a success. I hope I will become more familiar with the facility, patients, and staff as I continue to introduce myself.