Nursing is an extremely important profession that makes a real impact. From looking after the sick to helping save lives, it is not a role you can take lightly. That’s why so many nurses work toward becoming more responsible in whatever way they can.
Although you will already need to act responsibly to work as a nurse in the first place, there are ways to up your levels of responsibility. That, in turn, will help deliver better care to the patients while ensuring your professional reputation is positive. It could even lead to promotions and other opportunities down the road.
If you are a nurse (or an aspiring one) wanting to put your best foot forward each day, use this guide to become more responsible.
Further Your Nursing Education
Furthering your nursing education is not just about accumulating qualifications and showing what you can do. It’s also about learning how to manage your time and showing responsibility for your career. Taking initiative and seeking a higher nursing qualification shows that you are responsible enough to take your career into your own hands and pursue the nursing role that suits you best.
Become a Preceptor
One of the best and most responsible things you can do with your nursing knowledge is to pass it on to aspiring nurses. The best way to do that without becoming a nurse educator is to become a preceptor.
A preceptor is an experienced, licensed clinician that supervises nursing students of all levels. They provide feedback, correct errors, and answer questions, playing an important role in the education of aspiring nurses. Preceptors help prepare the students by providing insider knowledge within the industry while using their experience to guide them toward success. It’s a lot of work, but the results are endlessly rewarding.
Attain a Leadership Role
A leadership role in any industry shows great levels of responsibility. In nursing, though, it is an especially responsible move, as you are in charge of some of the community’s most important members. If you have leadership skills and are interested in climbing the healthcare ladder, a nursing leadership role like nurse management could be an excellent path.
Listen to Your Superiors
Some people think being responsible means knowing everything and doing the right thing every time. That is far from the truth. In reality, those with high levels of responsibility know and understand their weaknesses and, in turn, seek advice and mentorship from those around them. That means that to show responsibility as a nurse, you must listen to your superiors.
Of course, take the initiative when it is necessary, but always try and learn from your superiors. They have the wisdom to share, after all, and you can accumulate their pieces of knowledge to become a more responsible and independent nurse.
You can’t be responsible if you show up late and don’t have the correct equipment on you. With so many people relying on you, including your co-workers and patients, you need to stay organized at all times. If you have trouble doing so, little habits can help, like keeping a physical diary and writing to-do lists. Once you nail consistent organization, you show you are responsible enough to be relied on.
Talking too much won’t show responsibility, but listening will. Try to limit how many words come out of your mouth when it’s unnecessary, and instead, focus on actively listening to your patients and co-workers.
Find a Work-life Balance
Responsible nurse does not work themselves so hard that they reach burnout. Your intense work ethic might impress people at first, but eventually, it will harm your work performance.
You might not be as attentive to your patients, and you may forget some tasks – all because you pushed yourself too hard. That isn’t responsible. In fact, it’s the opposite of it.
So, to be more responsible as a nurse, you should prioritize your physical and mental health by finding a work-life balance. It’s not as easy as it sounds, what with the long nursing shifts and emotionally exhausting work. There are ways to help, though, such as:
Not Taking on Too Much Overtime
Some overtime is fine – often even necessary. Too much, though, and the extra cash injection won’t be worth it. Give yourself some rest.
Avoid Multiple Long Shifts in a Row
Some long shifts may be essential for your nursing career, but avoid too many in a row. You won’t be able to work effectively if you are still tired from your last one.
Simplify Your Daily Life
Too much going on at once will quickly overwhelm you, especially when you have nursing shifts. Instead, simplify your life as much as possible.
Do Something Outside of Nursing
The most responsible nurses aren’t those who dedicate every part of their life to their job. Instead, they are 100% present during their shifts but can take themselves away from their jobs at the end of it. Do something outside of nursing that helps you relax and enjoy, whether reading, hiking, or sketching.
Make Time for Self Care
Start investing your time in self-care. Activities like swimming and hiking are excellent for getting your heart rate up while eating healthy, nutritious meals will help you feel good from the inside.
To be responsible, you must take responsibility for your actions. Taking accountability can sometimes be scary, but nurses need to do. Take accountability for your actions, words, tasks – everything you are responsible for. Sometimes, it might put you in a bad light, especially if you’ve made a mistake. Over time, though, you will become known as an honest and responsible nurse. That will shine far more than one little mistake ever will.
Always Be Respectful
Whether you are communicating with a colleague or a patient, you must always be
respectful of the person on the other side. You are a nurse, after all – you don’t have room to be rude. To be seen as a responsible and professional nurse, you must treat everyone else how you would wish to be treated, even when they are not being particularly nice to you.
Sometimes, that might mean stepping away and taking a few deep breaths!
Take on New Responsibilities One easy way to show that you are a responsible nurse is to take on new responsibilities. That could be anything and will depend on your department. You could perhaps take on a leadership role or take over certain tasks to expand your nursing knowledge. If you like, you could speak to your supervisor about taking on more or different work. It will show initiative, build your skills, and prove you are responsible all at once.
Focus on Emotional Stability
One of the most crucial qualities of a nurse is emotional stability. There is no denying that it is an emotionally heavy profession. You see a lot – sick patients, extreme emotions, upset families, and even death. It’s not easy to witness every day but to be a responsible nurse, you must learn to manage your emotions.
That doesn’t mean feeling anything – just that you don’t let your emotions affect your ability to work. If you ever need a few moments to yourself, it’s better to excuse yourself rather than work through it.
Take Care of Nursing Equipment
To be responsible, you must take care of everything around you, including all the equipment. If you borrow something from another nurse, don’t just leave it lying around – return it to them in person before they have to ask. You should also keep your workspace tidy and put all the healthcare equipment back correctly every time. Taking care of your surroundings shows that you respect them and, in turn, that you respect your job and colleagues.
Ask for Feedback
Sometimes it is hard to know where you stand in your career. You might think you do not impress anyone when you are, and you might need to improve in an area without knowing it. To take the initiative and show responsibility, ask your manager or supervisor for direct feedback. Once you receive it, actually listen to it, too. It will help you flourish as a nurse.
Have an Ongoing Desire to Learn
Nursing is all about learning. You don’t stop education once you complete your qualifications – it just becomes less formal. Instead of taking an exam every semester, you will learn a few techniques from your co-workers or take on a training course about the new tech on the ward. To be a responsible nurse that carries on growing, you must be open and eager to learn.
Remember – showing that you are responsible will often lead to more responsibilities. That might mean you are in charge of more people or tasks and that you receive more opportunities. It can be both scary and exciting. As long as you put your best foot forward and strive to be the most responsible nurse you can be, you will surely lead a successful nursing career.