“Nurse: Just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone” (Scala).
Nursing is a very difficult job. Aside from having the knowledge and the heart to practice medicine, it takes plenty of strength, courage, and endurance to be a nurse. Slowly but surely, nursing is becoming one of the most prominent jobs in the USA. As the country’s population ages as fast as it expands, the existing healthcare system is expected to be overwhelmed in the next 20 years. The demographic crisis is looming, as the elderly population will increase from 46 million today to about 98 million by 2060 (Snavely 98).
As if to prove Scala’s quote to be right, hospitals have some of the highest turnover rates in the employment industry, with average turnover varying between 15% and 30% (Duffield 2703). The overall number of medical specialists in the country is growing, but slowly, totaling 2,857,000 registered nurses in 2016 (“Number of Registered Nurses”). At the same time, the number of nurses that are actually employed is much lower, which contributes to the existing understaffing problem.
Therefore, it is everyone’s job to try to turn the tide, in order to ensure a safer, healthier, and more secure society. In this paper, I will explain my reasons for wanting to become a nurse, stating the major events in my life and the life of the country that led me to this decision, and presenting my personal nursing philosophy.
Personal History Matters
Medicine was always a calling to me. Ever since young, I enjoyed helping others. When I came home from school, I had a duty of helping out my elderly grandmother, should she not feel well, which happened quite often. My duties were simple, as I had to keep the room nice and bright, make sure the windows are open, that the bed and the table stand were clean, and ensure that my dear grandmother drank her medicine and ate her soup.
Little did I know at the time, that my daily routine was following in the steps of Florence Nightingale’s theoretical framework. Although at the time I had little to no medical knowledge, I was still able to influence the environment in order to facilitate health improvement. My grandmother was very grateful to me for just being there. It also brought me happiness to see her becoming well again. As I grew older, I volunteered at the local Church to provide assistance to the poor and downtrodden. A medical career seemed like a natural choice for me. However, instead of becoming a nurse, I decided to study pharmacy. It seemed like a better career option to me, at the time.
I worked in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years. According to the research on turnover rates among young nurses and physicians, over half of them quit their jobs within the first three years of their careers. I managed to endure through long shifts, workplace conflicts, and work overload, which are the greatest challenges to any healthcare worker. Not only did I survive, but I also thrived in such a stressful environment, as my conviction and dedication were strong.
My last place of work was in the prison system, where I operated as a pharmacist technician. This line of work exposed me to many negative aspects of human society. I was expected to help many people that, in the view of our society, did not deserve the love and compassion provided to them by healthcare. Working in the prison system taught me a few things about my profession. Medicine, just like Justice, is blind and must consider itself with the promotion of health, regardless of the patient’s character. Nevertheless, I felt that my job was not doing enough for the greater good of the American people. With the nurse crisis approaching, I felt that it was my chance to make a difference and help the people who need it the most. That is the main reason why I want to become a nurse.
My Personal Nursing Philosophy
No nurse comes into the healthcare industry without any personal beliefs, views, and biases towards medical practice. As time goes on, these beliefs are shaped by the circumstances around them. My own nursing philosophy has been formed by my experience in the healthcare field, as I had to deal with numerous patients of all temperaments, races, and backgrounds. The cornerstone of my personal philosophy is that anyone and everyone deserves proper healthcare, regardless of race, gender, and social standing. In my opinion, nurses should be able to promote healthcare as a universal right, as an extension of the right to live.
Of course, I realize that in the current socio-political environment, universal healthcare in the US is impossible for at least two decades. Nevertheless, it should not stop individual nurses from promoting healthcare and advocating for more inclusive policies in order to ensure that more of our population has access to quality healthcare.
My personal philosophy has been greatly informed by Orem’s theory of care, which suggests a greater degree of patient autonomy and a focus on preventive strategies and self-care. In light of the ongoing nursing turnover crisis, it is important to reduce the number of avoidable accidents by teaching preventive measures and methods of self-care. Orem’s self-care theory increases patient agency and allows for greater participation in their own healthcare process (“Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care”).
Such an approach would help relieve some of the workloads, as patients would know how to take care of themselves, thus preventing re-hospitalizations and reducing the financial pressure on patients as well as the healthcare system. The theory puts a great emphasis on the patient and the environment, which can be applied to psychiatric care, long-term care, preventive care, home service, and many other fields of nursing, which is why my nursing philosophy revolves around it.
My personal philosophy revolves around the desire to help others, the desire to ensure that everyone has equal access to quality healthcare, and the desire to influence the existing nursing crisis in a positive way. I believe that I have the experience and the resilience to withstand the hardships associated with nursing. By helping my patients and making them more independent, self-reliant, and conscious of their health, I will be improving not only their lives but also the lives of the community in general. I strongly believe that good intentions and benevolence are what make a good nurse, but it takes will and resilience to accomplish these goals. I believe I have all the qualities to make a great nurse.
Duffield, Christine M. et al. “A Comparative Review of Nurse Turnover Rates and Costs Across Countries.” Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 70, no. 12, 2014, pp. 2703-2712.
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Scala, Elizabeth. “Nursing from Within.” Twitter. 2017. Web.
Snavely, Timothy M. “A Brief Economic Analysis of the Looming Nursing Shortage in the United States.” Nursing Economics, vol. 34, no. 2, 2016, 98-100.