I am a psychiatric nurse working with pediatric patients. A psychiatric nurse is the one who specializes in mental illnesses and stresses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, psychosis, and dementia. Pediatric patients, in turn, are children and, thus, a pediatrician deals with behavioral, physical, and mental health of children from birth. As a psychiatrist nurse for the pediatric department, I majorly deal with children who have mental issues and illnesses. Here, I can assess the children’s mental condition, administer medicine, and do psychological therapies among other duties. I practice this mostly in the environment of crisis because that is my area of specialization. In the current term paper, I shall be discussing my profession as a nurse and everything that surrounds this field of medicine.
What is Nursing?
Nursing is one of the professions in the health care sector intending to care for individuals, families, as well as the community. Nurses are basically health care providers. Their major duty and key responsibility is taking care of the wellbeing of the patient (The American Nurses Association, 2009).
Nursing exists to assist an individual, in performing activities that he or she cannot do in his or her present state, which will help in improving and recovering health. On their own, physicians are not able to meet so many demands of their patients and, that is why, they need nurses to effectively perform their duties. Thus, of all health care professions, nursing remains the most diverse field as it has a broad range of specialties, but generally they are differentiated by needs of a particular group of people. Some nurses, for instance, care for communities, families, adult gerontology, neonatal women's health, which is gender-related, and psych or mental health, while others deal with pediatrics (The American Nurses Association, 2014). Other nursing specialties or majors are cardiac nursing, obstetrical nursing, orthopedic nursing, preoperative nursing, palliative care, oncology nursing, telenursing, and nursing informatics (World Health Organization, 2006).
My major aim of practicing nursing is the passion I have for saving and restoring lives, especially those of innocent children. I am also fascinated with the mental aspect and, hence, I love discovering more and more every day with each new mental problem I have to solve when I give hope to someone. I also practice nursing as my longtime dream, which has now become my profession and career. For sure, I do regret being a nurse.
Assumptions Underlying the Nursing Profession
It is assumed that nurses are under control of a physician, meaning they cannot work on their own. Just as in the academic field, it is a distinct field of learning and nurses need to be allowed to practice their career and their specialty separately from physicians. It is also believed that nurses should be of the female gender. For instance, the ratio of male-female nurses in Canada and America is 1:19. It is a female-dominated field. However, some male nurses are taking up the challenge, showing others that nursing is not gender-biased. According to an article on Japan by American Nurses Association, nursing has been described as “hard, dirty, dangerous, poor image, low salary, few holidays” among other negative description, which give it a poor image (The American Nurses Association, 2014). That is not the case though because nursing is a very noble profession and it is a calling.
Patients are assumed to be those who are sick or rather physically unstable and in the hospital. However, as The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary puts it, it is the one who is undergoing some medical care or treatment (American Heritage Dictionary Editors, 2002). A patient does not have to be in the hospital though as children in social centers, for instance, who undergo therapy because of their mental imbalance are also patients since they receive some medical care.
It is believed that other care providers are not a part of the medical or rather health sector. Instead, they are deemed to be the community-based personnel (WHO, 2006). According to Collins English Dictionary (2012), communities mean people living in one locality. Therefore, people in a hospital, i.e. patients and health care practitioners, are also a community. For a long time, however, it has been assumed that communities are people of the same tribe, race, or nationality.
Major Domains of Nursing
According to American Heritage Dictionary Editors (2002), a person is the living body of a human or rather the composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self. For instance, a woman, a man, and a child will each be termed as a person. An animal is a living creature, but will not be categorized as a person because it has no characteristics that make up an individual personality.
Health is the general state of an organism at a given time, as well as soundness, particularly of mind and body, and freedom from abnormality or abnormalities (American Heritage Dictionary Editors, 2002). An example of this domain is when one is not ill. A sane person will also be healthy because he/she is mentally sound.
The environment refers to the home environment, but hospital environment and work environment are also common forms of the environment a person lives in. A person in this case will be the one who has the breath of life whether a clone (a scientifically created being) or a normally born being. This person will be healthier if he or she lives in a pure environment free from pollution and contamination such as a home environment.
Nursing is a profession that will need more personnel in future as people are more into other professions, considering this one as a dirty job (The American Nurses Association, 2014). However, it is one of the pivotal and crucial departments in the health care sector. Therefore, people need to know about it and stop believing stereotypes spread by other people. Otherwise, more lives will be lost before people can reach out to other physicians. Nurses are primary care providers and save lives of those in danger through giving the first aid. Male nurses need to help create a better image than the one the public already has about this field through campaigns aimed at creating awareness and mentoring those aspiring to take up this career (Doenges, Moorhouse, & Murr, 2014).
Challenges Nurses Face
Work overload is one of the major challenges we face. We are expected to do so much in a very short span of time for a very meager salary. This discourages us as we are overworked and get no motivation. This work overload is a result of another major challenge, which is understaffing. Hospitals today have fewer professionals than before, while others take in nurses who are not well-trained, creating a crisis for those of us who are professionals as we cannot see things go wrong when on duty. Untrained nurses will always come to the trained ones for advice and assistance with their duties. At the end of the day, the competent ones end up doing extra work (The American Nurses Association, 2014).
Another challenge that has been an issue worldwide since time immemorial is low wages. Doctors and other medics in this field are paid highly, yet their work load is smaller compared to that of other health care providers like nurses. Therefore, it is important to tackle this issue in order to motivate nurses by showing appreciation to the work they are doing. The “more workload, the higher salary” principle should be the way forward. Many nurses have, in fact, voiced their plea through strikes to no avail (Donley, 2005).
The lack of respect from the public due to the negative perspective and poor image of the profession is another challenge nurses face. Traditionally, nursing has been associated with females, thus diminishing value of the profession, especially among male chauvinists. This also discourages young people aspiring to become professionals and, as a result, there is a reduction in the number of people who finish whatever they have started confidently (World Health Organization, 2006).
Some patients have very high expectations of nurses on the whole and, thus, meeting these expectations is another challenge we face. Some will want to be taken care of completely, yet have no appreciation for nurses as they think that it is their right. As a nurse, one has so many patients to take care of that they forget about some petty issues that need to be addressed (Donley, 2005).
Goals for my Professional Development
So far, I have established three major lifelong professional goals based on R. Donley’s (2005) research. The first one is a lifelong learning commitment. I wish to be fully equipped with the practical training required in my field, seeing each day as a way to get new learning experience. I therefore want to commit myself to a lifelong learning for improvement and sharpening of my skills as a psychiatric nurse for the pediatric department. Learning for me does not stop after graduation from the university.
My second goal is to provide community service to those in need of medical assistance. Thus, all persons should have a chance to reach out to a health center for the help they need for improving or restoring their deteriorating health status. Therefore, I wish to go to the grassroots in local communities and give mentally challenged children a reason to smile despite their distress and a hope for a better life.
My other goal is to inspire and mentor children and other people who may wish to go into nursing. Apparently, I am a nurse because of someone who has inspired me to be a nurse. Besides, I also plan to inspire and mentor others who want to become a nurse just like me or even much better. I shall achieve this by creating awareness as well as removing negative stereotypes already shared by people and especially children through campaigns, one-on-one motivational talks, and specific actions. This will help them understand what a crucial profession nursing is.
I am positive that the future for nurses is bright and this term paper may be the starting point of a revolution in this health care sector. I am thinking about and imagining a time when nurses will be paid as they should, as well as being appreciated and respected and a time when people will be flocking to colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning to be admitted to the nursing department. At this time, hospitals will not be under-staffed, which is something that I know is possible in the near future.
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