Your in Good Hands

Nurses are an odd bunch. We spend most of our time surrounded by our patients and colleagues and therefore can become familiar with our colleagues, and there with us, even if it is only by a glance.

However, when it comes to our emotional state we have to be careful. We live our lives in public and as such have to be vigilant about our own actions and responses.

We have to appear confident, so we will learn the art of deflection, understatement, and project an image of strength that will draw confidence from our colleagues.

But, no matter how competent we are, we still have times when we will struggle

A female pharmacist is selecting a drug from the pharmacy inventory.

We will look nervous, we may not be able to answer the question right away and we are bound to draw someone’s attention to the fact we are struggling.

Then we have the false starts and if there is one thing we absolutely loathe it is looking stupid. So, we will keep on pulling ourselves together until we finally do make it.

We know what you are thinking, what about the vast number of patients that we see that we don’t get past.

Well, the fact is that we don’t get to every single patient’s bedside.

There are many reasons for this. There will always be some of the most complex and distressing patients who are unable to communicate with us. They will be spoken to in other ways.

They will be using their pendant, they will be making a lot of noise or even coughing or choking.

So, for us, and their family, it is much easier to talk to the less distressed and easier to be ignored by them.

By not getting to them straight away, they are not being exposed to the possibility that they may need the nurse’s assistance.

They will not be put off by the fact that we are a new nurse or that we are worried about talking to them.

They know us well and know that if we speak to them it may well be some time before we return.

We don’t go to work and just talk to people

A male pharmacist is examining a drug from a the pharmacy inventory.

We need confidence and the right approach to have a meaningful conversation with our patients and relatives.

To have confidence in our nursing ability and skills we have to let our patients and colleagues know that we are competent and able.

By the very nature of our profession, we cannot be anything but professional.

A lot of our communication is via word of mouth.

When we share a problem, medication, or insight we are communicating to the rest of the team what we think, what we have done, or what we are thinking.

This is called verbal flow.

Even if we are in the shower, we are going to be demonstrating the concept of verbal flow, as we blow our hair dry. The simple act of keeping our hair dry allows the rest of our body to be in the right position for speaking.

After all, if it were not for a nurse who knew how to keep her hair out of the way we wouldn’t be able to speak.

So, we need to carry on and show confidence in our team, no matter what has happened.

It doesn’t matter if it was a bad night or an excellent night, we have a job to do, and the best way to show it is by being professional and confident.

What are the 3 Ps of confidence?

When it comes to confidence we are not talking about being arrogant or ignoring your colleagues.

Confidence is based on self-belief and you can grow that by practicing and continually improving your knowledge and skills.

This confidence can be gained through good self-esteem, having confidence in yourself, and demonstrating that you have learned well, are hardworking, and worth your position in the workplace.

Nursing is not just about lifting people; it is about supporting them to do the best they can.

We are all put in stressful situations, however, if you are consistently performing to the standard you are capable of then you should feel confident that you are the best you can be.

You cannot fake confidence

Woman Consults with Pharmacist. An older African-American woman talks to a Hispanic male pharmacist as he explains her prescription. Photographer Rhoda Baer

You are not going to be successful if you are fake and if you are not doing the best you can.

The moment you stop doing the best that you can, you will not feel confident and your confidence will disappear.

By being confident in yourself and showing it to your team you are reinforcing the idea that they are doing well and there is no reason why they cannot do even better.

Your job is to keep improving yourself and that is the job of the whole team.

It is also about making sure your fellow nurses and the team know that you are happy to help and they can rely on you.

This will build the feeling of safety within the unit and it will allow you to offer support to your team in the way you feel comfortable with.

You can’t rely on your peers to develop your confidence; it is up to you.

If you are a team member and do not feel confident that you are performing well, then take some time to understand why and start working on that.

A great way to get feedback on your performance is to ask questions and find out what they are looking for.

This is important to be able to improve. By seeing what your colleagues or fellow staff think and asking questions you will be able to help yourself.