General Question

Sunshinegirl11's avatar

If you were sick in the hospital, what would differentiate a mediocre nurse from an outstanding nurse?

Asked by Sunshinegirl11 (1102points) August 9th, 2017 from iPhone

Hello all!
I’m a nursing student who will be graduating in May of 2018. Just out of curiosity, if you were or have been sick in the hospital, what differentiated the mediocre nurses from the fantastic nurses? What qualities did that nurse have that made your stay more pleasant and less stressful/scary?

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15 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Compassion and a cheerful and drama free personality. They care, and they’re patient, no matter how difficult their day is, you will never know it.

A great nurse knows to quit if they burn out and start hating their job.

flutherother's avatar

I haven’t been ill in hospital but I think the difference could come down to a smile or a simple touch.

chyna's avatar

Being more attentative to their patients than their personal conversations with co workers or on their cell phones. Being pleasant and a smile or a pat on the hand goes a long way.

Mariah's avatar

Hello! Thank you for being a nurse! Nurses work so hard, and a good one can really be the only bright spot in a hospitalization.

I’ve been hospitalized a lot. I remember a few stand-out nurses:

- Have a conversation with me. I don’t fault you if you don’t have time for this – nurses are incredibly busy and I don’t want you ignoring the needs of other patients you’re seeing, but if you happen to have the time – just have a conversation with me. I’m lonely and scared and a friendly presence can do wonders.

- I know you need to check my vitals, but damn, I really want to sleep! I had a nurse who used to try to sneak the blood pressure cuff onto my arm and the thermometer under my armpit while I was sleeping. I don’t think it really worked – I woke up anyway, if I recall correctly – but I appreciated the effort!

- Speaking of sleeping….if my room is right by the nurses’ station – augh, I know that chatting with your coworkers is probably one of the things that makes the job palatable, but the noise might be keeping me awake. I need to sleep to heal! Another thing you can do is enforce quiet hours if they’re a thing at your hospital – so many roommates I’ve had would watch TV late into the night. If you can ask patients to turn off or mute their TVs when it gets late, or if you can turn off a patient’s TV if they’ve fallen asleep in front of it, their roommates will appreciate it very much.

- I once had a pediatric nurse who would tell me corny jokes every time he came in. He was awesome.

- Listen to my concerns. I don’t get a lot of face time with my doctor while I’m inpatient, so you might be the person I come to about whatever symptom might be worrying me at the moment. Listen carefully, and if you can determine that my concern is unwarranted, explain why. Always assume I’m smart and curious about what’s happening in my body. If you just blow me off I’m going to continue to worry about the symptom, and I’m going to bring it up to the next nurse I see.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

A good nurse does not speak down to their patients. They avoid being condescending. Don’t speak to people as if they are children, and especially don’t talk to older people as though they are babies.

They remember that their patient may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in the hospital environment. They avoid doing things like leaving a patient sitting alone in a corridor in a flimsy gown without explaining what is happening or how long they may have to wait.

They don’t treat their patients like fools. So if a patient is waiting to see a doctor and the doctor is delayed. Tell them they’re delayed. Don’t bullshit them either. In fairness, this relates to a doctor bullshitting rather than a nurse, but I remember waiting all day for a doctor to come and attach my drip (no idea what the technical term is). The nurses couldn’t attach the drip for some reason and it had to be done by a doctor. I kept asking when my drip would be re-attached, and the nurses kept chasing the doctors, but obviously, the doctors were busy. However, when after a whole day one finally turned up, she tried to blame the nurses. I was very unimpressed. She was treating me like a fool and lying to me about the nursing staff. Be straight with people. Diplomatic honesty is always better than being caught out bullshitting people.

They are patient with their patients. They answer their questions and understand sick people may be irritable. They also recognize someone who is sick or in pain may be confused and not thinking clearly.

Really, a good nurse just shows empathy and tries to imagine who they might feel in a similar situation.

canidmajor's avatar

A good nurse remembers that the patient is a bundle of hyper sensitive pain receptors. They treat my flesh with gentleness even while poking me with pointy things and putting stuff into places that should only have stuff going out.

Anything nice beyond that is gravy.

Like @Mariah, I have also spent more than my fair share of time in hospitals.

Gideon2017's avatar

If I am a patient, I`d like someone who can ease my pain. So gentleness may help a lot. Not a professional answer.

chyna's avatar

@Sunshinegirl11 Thank you for caring enough to ask. You are going to be an excellent nurse. I hope to have someone like you caring for me if I ever am in the hospital as a patient.

YARNLADY's avatar

I appreciated when the nurses explained what they were doing while they worked, and what to expect next.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

For me a good nurse considers triaging mental illnesses/emergencies fairly on par with physical illnesses. Not having the mentally ill patients wait till 5am or all day to see a doctor.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m going to say that you asking this question already makes you a fantastic nurse.

But here is the hard part. PEOPLE ARE FUCKING HORRIBLE. Especially people in a hospital. You are going to get yelled at by people that are only there for pills. And people that hate your face for not just giving them a pill to cure their woes. PEOPLE ARE FUCKING HORRIBLE

You are already great. So try to just let shit roll off your shoulder and treat everyone the same way. Mentally be ready to treat each new patient as a clean slate.

no grudges

Pachy's avatar

Impathy and patience.

Gideon2017's avatar

I agree with @johnpowell. Especially the first sentence.

2davidc8's avatar

GQ. One of the best questions I’ve ever seen in this forum. I agree with @Mariah, @johnpowell, and @Earthbound_Misfit.

josie's avatar

The good ones will put a comforting hand on your head, shoulder, arm and such.

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