- What sort of teaching is done in your professional role?
Nursing is a profession that is based in teaching. One role we teach in is when we mentor other nurses that are just beginning in the profession. New nurses come from school with the basics, but there are several things that you learn as you gain experience. This is actually an important aspect of our role in nurses. If we help the new nurses to become proficient then we are helping to make sure that later on we will have someone taking care of us that are good at what they do. It also ensures that we have a good team to work with. Not only helping new nurses but also helping other professionals that are part of the interdisciplinary team so that we are able to provide the best care for our patients
The next role is the teaching we give our patients. People are more involved in the decisions made in their health care. We as nurses are the front line for learning for most of our patients. We are called upon to clarify the teaching that the physicians have given them. Medical professionals are constantly teaching patients about the laboratory tests and the procedures that they are going to experience. When new medications are given to a patient in the hospital the nurses are teaching why they are getting the medication, how to take it, and the side effects to watch for. In the clinics and physicians offices nurses and physicians are teaching patients about prevention from diseases. We teach signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes so that patients have a better chance of getting care quickly. School nurses teach children about the importance of hand washing. At home nurses are asked by neighbors, friends and family members questions. Usually there is some teaching that goes along with them.
Then there is the learning that we as nurses receive from our patients. Some of the experiences that I felt I have learned the most from are things I learned from those I am taking care of. Other important learning is from other professions that also play a role in the patients stay. These can include the physicians, respiratory therapist, the clerk and the housekeeper.
- Is there any nursing/health care provider role that does not involve teaching in some manner?
There is not a role in nursing or as a health care provider role that does not have teaching as part of it. One of the biggest ways we teach is by example. How we conduct ourselves, the caring we give, and the approachability that we have are all ways of teaching. Even when we are not aware of it we are teaching. In the NICU we have feedback from patients after they leave the hospital with their babies that they still bathe their children the same way we did, or they swaddle their patients the same way. We should be aware as nurses and other health care professionals that people are always learning from us. We also need to be aware of what they can teach us.