A student came to me today to ask about the types of things that Nurses can do once they have finished their BN. I told him about post graduate courses and further study, overseas opportunities and rural and remote possibilities. When you think of all of the opportunities that nursing offers us we are spoilt for choice. You can be a medical or a surgical nurse, a critical care nurse, a neonatal nurse, an Emergency nurse, you can scrub for theatre, work in radiology or oncology, and if you are entrepreneurial you can set up your own business. The choice is endless. There are many components that are common across any field you choose as a nurse, but one of the most important components is accountability.
Whatever field we choose to work in we have to be accountable to our patients. Being accountable means being a patient advocate and this takes on many facets not just advocating on behalf of a patient to a Dr. This is part of advocacy but advocacy transcends that, it includes as I spoke about it my last blog, advocating for appropriate skilled staffing, nursing your patient in the correct area and following through on clinical decisions. It means reporting that lab work, following up on that investigation, relaying that phone call. Patient safety is a fundamental part of our accountability as a nurse. We have to try to keep our patients as safe as they possibly can be. Being accountable helps keep our patients safe. I’m teaching students at the moment and I am teaching them about patient safety and accountability, about resilience and other related topics. It’s great to see them gain new insight from their studies and to be able to identify risks to patients and what we can do as nurses to mitigate this risk. We hope in our working life not to witness too many adverse events but when we do sometimes they can be catastrophic. We can try our best to mitigate this risk to our patients by being accountable and by encouraging those around us to be accountable. It’s the very least we can do in our nursing life!
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