As a nursing student beginning to look at grad nurse residencies to apply to, one of my biggest fears has been that I won’t be good enough for the programs I want. I hear about writing patient narratives and it sends chills up my spine. If your in the healthcare field, you may know what I’m talking about. Patient narratives are stories of your experiences with patients in which you served above and beyond your job description. I always have thought of it as catching something big – a symptom that put together the rest of the puzzle, a code where you take charge, the big saves – the near misses. It wasn’t until this summer at Hershey Medical Center that I learned what it really takes to write a patient narrative.
Nurses have been the most trusted profession every year since 9/11. To be a nurse is to have a strong desire to help others, good intuition and intelligence, a deep rooted sense of empathy, and a strong stomach. The most important of these, however, is empathy. This is what makes the nurse time and time again one of the most trusted people in a persons life during one of the darkest times of their lives. This is what makes the great nurses stand out from the good.
The ability to sit with a person on their worst days as they face illness, surgery, or even impending death is a trait not every person can possess. It taxes you and tears at your heart strings in ways you couldn’t think possible. To sit with a person as they cry tears of anxiety, fear, and depression and give them your strength while you walk them through the challenges they face is something which cannot be described.
It’s the little things. It’s sitting with a patient and rubbing their back while the cry. It’s telling the patient you’re on their side. It’s giving the patient support in their darkest times. It’s being strength for patients when they can’t find the strength in themselves. This is what makes a great nurse. This is what you put in your patient narratives. This is how you stand out and shine as a nursing professional.
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