The purpose of this paper is to discuss the qualities chosen in our group’s Coat of Arms assignment and why these qualities represent Nursing. Knowledge, communication, critical thinking, caring, advocacy, and leadership are the qualities being chosen in the Coat of Arms assignment. The components and symbols of the Coat of Arms will also be explained at the final part of this paper
First of all, knowledge is the essential building block of the art of nursing. Knowledge helps a nurse think critically and make decisions during their practice. There are two types of knowledge: empirical and particular knowledge. A nurse acquires empirical knowledge at school which includes knowledge of anatomy, physiology, path physiology, and epidemiology. Empirical knowledge can be applied directly to patients. Particular knowledge is unique to each patient situation. For example, if a patient has kidney failure, according to empirical knowledge a nurse would suggest the patient have a kidney transplant. On the other side, the nurse understands the patients’ religion makes the patient reluctant to have any organs transplantation, therefore the nurse would establish different nursing interventions for the patient. Through lifelong learning, a nurse will be able to acquire more nursing knowledge and this will help them excel in their practice (Cooper,2001).
Communication is another important quality of nursing. It is important that a nurse use communication skills to establish a therapeutic relationship with his or her patients. Through actively listening and inquiry a nurse can find out clients needs and identify goals. The nurse then must communicate that information back to her patient and begin establishing realistic expectations of recovery. Nurses also work with many other coworkers so effective communication is key to maintaining an effective health care team (Potter &Perry, 2009).
Critical thinking emphasizes the use of logic and reasoning to make decisions. This is an important quality in nursing because during the care of patients, nurses are constantly making decisions that affect patient well being.(Forneris 1 & McAlpine, 2009) For instance, Mrs. Smith, a 50 year old woman comes to see a nurse with a swollen right knee. The nurse has to thinking critically to find the cause of Mrs. Smith’s injured knee. The nurse will ask questions related to Mrs. Smith’s previous health problems to determine what led to the injured knee, and for her to rank the pain from 0 to 10. After Mrs. Smith responds, the nurse has to analyze the data and might explain to Mrs. Smith that she may apply some ointment to help with the pain along with doing endurance exercises. Two weeks later, Mrs. Smith is asked to come back to see if the exercise and ointment helped. Critical thinking helps nurses identify patient’s unique problems and assist nurses with planning for a special nursing intervention for the patient and evaluate if the treatment given to clients have been effective.
Caring is important for nursing because caring behavior shown by a nurse can make patients optimistic and speed up their healing process. Caring behavior also shows that nurses have a connection with the patient and makes the patient feel that he is not alone. By having a nurse using knowledge tailored to care for them, patients can gain a sense of comfort. Moreover, according to Watson, a caring relationship and caring environment can promote human dignity and integrity, empower patient’s self awareness and self knowledge which will affect healing positively (Watson, 2005).
In the health care system, patients are vulnerable because their physical condition is less than optimal and they do not have the knowledge that health care professionals have regarding the treatment they receive. This creates an unequal power between the health care system and the patient. Therefore it is nurse’s obligation to be an advocate for their patients needs and speak out for the patient for the most ideal intervention, especially where there is a dispute among the health care team (Steefel,2008).
Leadership is important to nursing because it is a quality that ensures and promotes the best nursing care to the general public. When a nurse finds an inappropriate situation in the health care system which could cause harm to the public, a nurse with leadership characteristics would step out and actively solve the problem in order to protect the public interest. A nurse with leadership qualities can also demonstrate and educate other new nurses about nursing integrity and professionalism. A nurse leader can work in the health care unit and use her knowledge to direct other health care members to solve conflicts within the health care system, ensuring that the public can enjoy better health care service (CNO,2002).
The six symbols in our group’s coat of arm are puzzle pieces, a torch, a sheep skin scroll, a heart with hands of different race , a book with key, and a balance. All the symbols are sitting on an aqua coloured shield. There is a pink shell with four pearls at the apex of the shield. In the middle of the shield is a hexagon combined with two triangles connecting all six symbols on the coat of arms. There are also two brown wooden ladders on each side of the shield.
Puzzle pieces are a symbol of critical thinking. It is because a person has to think carefully to put all the puzzle pieces together. It is just like how nurses think critically to put all the pieces of patient information together and analyze them in order to provide appropriate care to the patient. The torch symbolizes leadership. The person who holds the torch takes initiative to walk in front of the crowd and uses the light to guide the followers. The scroll is a symbol of communication since in the ancient times, Kings communicated over long distances by writing messages on a scroll and sending it to his officials. A heart with hands of different races symbolizes caring, as nurses care for others including patients and their family members, regardless of their background and race. The book with key symbolizes knowledge. The key helps people open the doors of knowledge. The balance is a symbol of advocacy because nurses have to be an advocate for their clients and to help balance the power between vulnerable patients and health care professionals. The ladders symbolize Benner’s five stages of skill acquisition a nurse will undergo, from novice to expert.
In conclusion, my understanding of nursing has changed by become more rounded since fall. Before I thought nursing simply means to take care of the problem affecting patients, but now I understand that nurses take care of the patients overall well being. Doing so properly requires all of the skills described in this essay.