How To Think Like A Nurse

Nurses are extremely special individuals. They work incredibly hard, they have a huge amount of knowledge, and they always want to do their best to help people, no matter what the situation might be that they find themselves in. Not everyone can be a nurse – that is, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse; the profession is, of course, open to all – and it’s important to know that you’re making the right choice when you start the process of applying for nursing school.


Something that is crucial when you want to be a nurse is to understand how nurses think. They have to work in high-pressure environments, and their critical thinking skills have to be extremely well-honed order to give their patients the best care and to be the most useful member of any team. Plus, if they want a rewarding career, being able to think like a nurse is a big first step to get right. When you can think like a nurse, you can be sure of making good decisions and ensuring – as far as possible, at least – positive outcomes. With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can think like a nurse. If you intend to become a nurse yourself, having these skills and this mindset in place is going to be invaluable.


You’re Not Shocked Easily

If you want to think like a nurse, you need to be able to take every situation as it comes and analyze them all individually. You need to be able to do this without being shocked at what you see, hear, or understand about what has happened. Whereas most people would be concerned about blood and wounds, you need to be able to get past this quickly and start treating your patients as soon as you can – this could make all the difference.


If you want to think like a nurse, in other words, you need to respond well to injury, illness, and even death. Although you don’t have to look at these things in a positive light (because, after all, they are not positive things at all), you do need to look at them in an objective, dispassionate light.


When you find that these problems no longer shock or faze you, and you can essentially ignore the outside issues and get on with your own job without any issues, you’ll be thinking like a nurse. This is a big step, and it’s not one that everyone can or will want to take. For nurses, however, it really is an essential part of the job.


Twelve-Hours Shifts Don’t Scare You

Many people don’t know a lot about nursing. This stands to reason; unless you know a nurse or want to become a nurse, in many cases, there is no reason to know what nursing entails. Just as a nurse wouldn’t know what it was like to be a teacher or an airline pilot, so most people don’t have any deep knowledge of what it’s like to be a nurse. However, what they do have is an idea of what it’s like because they are aware of the fact that nurses work long hours and do shiftwork. This can put a lot of people off becoming a nurse, in fact.


The truth is that nurses do work long, hard hours. They do work in shifts. Those shifts are, on average, twelve hours, and they take place throughout the day and night, including weekends and holidays. People get sick and injured every day at all times, so there have to be nurses around every day at all times too.


Shifts are not easy to deal with. They can mess with your circadian rhythm, meaning that it can be hard to sleep well, and they can mean that you miss out on certain things – you may have to work through Christmas or other celebrations, for example. A good work-life balance isn’t always easy to find.


Yet if you want to think like a nurse, you won’t let your shifts worry you. You’ll be happy to do your work, and you’ll have a good routine in place to help you cope with the strange working hours. How you do this will depend on your own personality and your own responsibilities at home – if you have children to take care of, for example, then you’ll have different priorities than if you don’t.


Although nurses work shifts that include nights and weekends, it is actually still possible to have a good work-life balance. That’s because you’ll have plenty of time off between shift cycles, and you may even be able to swap shifts with a colleague when you need to. So, if you want to think like a nurse, your working hours can’t be an obstacle; otherwise, you’ll never get any further and you won’t enjoy the work you do, and both of these things are important.


You Understand Cleanliness

When you think like a nurse, you’ll understand just how important it is to stay clean and tidy in your life and personally. You’ll know why it’s so crucial to wash your hands and why your home should be as dust-free as possible. You’ll consider having green houseplants to help purify the air, and you’ll ensure that your family is as clean as possible at all times too.


Of course, this is important for hygienic reasons and to prevent sickness. However, it’s about more than that if you’re a nurse or thinking of becoming one. Cleanliness is important because it becomes an instinct for a nurse. If you wash your hands after touching something potentially unclean, after going outside, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and at a multitude of other times during the day – apart from before prepping food and after going to the bathroom, for example – then you are thinking like a nurse. If you do this without thinking about all, that’s even better because hygiene has become a good habit.


Nurses have to understand hygiene, and they need to ensure that they don’t harm their patients or themselves by not washing their hands or having a clean uniform. When this is instinct rather than something you need to actively think about, you can be sure you’re really thinking like a nurse.


You Can Multitask

In many situations, multitasking is not a good thing. It might seem as though you’re getting more done, but the fact is that you are just making yourself more and more busy, and the work you’re doing, although there might be more of it completed, is done to a lower quality. For many, taking one thing at a time and completing it well before moving on to the next thing is by far the better option.


In nursing, this is not the case. In nursing, you’ll need to multitask; otherwise, you would not be able to help all your patients and, even on a twelve-hour shift, you would get very little done. So, if you want to think like a nurse, you need to know how to multitask effectively and be as productive as possible with the time you have when you are at work (this can also serve you well when you are not in work, as you can make more of your free time as well).


If you want to attend nursing school, for example, being able to multitask could be invaluable. It all starts with choosing the right school, such as Holy Family University. This is an online school, meaning that you can work and/or take care of your family responsibilities at the same time as studying. This is the first kind of multitasking you can practice, and it’s a good lesson to learn. In the past, to become a nurse, you would have needed to go to school full-time, and there would have been no time for much else. This would rule a lot of people out of nursing. Today, thanks to online learning, anyone who wants to be a nurse can become one, no matter what else is going on in their lives.


Multitasking may not be something that comes naturally to you; it may not be something you have done much of – if any at all – in the past. By the time you finish nursing school, you should be proficient at it, and this will serve you well in the future, no matter what branch of nursing or what career path you want to take.


You’re Interested In Disease

As a nurse, you need to be interested in disease. This might sound like an odd thing to want to know more about, but the more you know, the better you can treat someone, and since treating and helping patients is a nurse’s main priority and function, it makes sense that you should want to know more about what is making them sick.


The more interested you are, the more you’ll enjoy your work. For a lot of nurses, this means additional study, such as reading journals, blogs, and articles about different diseases and getting to know more about them in this way. If you find this kind of thing dull, it’s going to be hard for you to get much further in your career. Of course, nursing is mostly about patient care, so it’s not a prerequisite that you have to know a lot about specific illnesses in order to be able to help people, but it will enable you to be a better nurse if you do. It will also ensure that you find the job interesting, which is crucial if you want to think like a nurse and be the best you can be.


You’re Keen To Diagnose

Although, technically, it will be a doctor who diagnoses a patient’s condition, that doesn’t mean that a nurse can’t have some idea of what the issue might be – in fact, they will often be able to come up with a diagnosis themselves. It takes a certain kind of thinking to ensure that you are taking everything into account and giving your patients your undivided attention to help them as much as possible.


When you are thinking like a nurse, you’ll be able to understand what each symptom means and, when combined with other symptoms, you’ll be able to recognize what illness the patient has. When you are a nurse, this should be something that fascinates you and that makes you interested to go to work each day – it also helps to prove to yourself (and others) that you are confident in your own abilities and knowledge. It might even be that you ask questions of your patients without thinking about it; you know what information you have to have, and you ask the right questions immediately. This is a useful skill and one that the best nurses have in abundance.


You Quickly Assess Any Situation

One of the best ways to think like a nurse is to assess every situation quickly and effectively. This should become second nature to you; you shouldn’t even have to think about doing it. In other words, if you’re thinking like a nurse, you’ll walk into a room and instantly assess everything that is going on. You won’t miss anything, and you’ll be able to understand exactly what the situation is within moments.


A good example of how this would work is at a party. If you’re thinking like a nurse, you can walk into a party and immediately know who is enjoying themselves, who wants to go home, even who the host is, assuming you don’t know already. You assess the room and get a good gauge of what’s happening. You can understand how this would be a great skill and a good way of thinking in a medical situation too. If you can work out what’s happening and who needs the most care first, you can ensure that every one of your patients is treated well.


Don’t worry if this sounds like a difficult thing to do; after you have studied to become a nurse and have gained enough experience, you’ll find that it begins to come naturally

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