You know that feeling, it’s the feeling of being in a room and all eyes are on you. You are expected to know every answer. You are expected to solve every problem. You should have the right words to comfort. You need to be able to make it all right. You need to find everybody’s different way of coping and feeling and tap into it. And in that moment, all of a sudden that little voice inside of you says quivering “You are asking me for all this? I’m supposed to know all this? Who am I? I really don’t know how to do all this. How am I supposed to comfort you when I feel like crying at this situation? How my supposed to make everyone feel better when I feel awful? How am I going to take control when I feel like the only thing I don’t have is control?”
Has that ever happened to you? If so, welcome to hospice nurse. Actually, welcome to nursing in general. As nursing continues to grow as a profession, nurses are expected to know more and more than ever before. While doctors have the knowledge and that is what is expected of them, nurses are not only expected to have the knowledge but we’re also expected to have the compassion , empathy, the caring, insure and over all ability to guide and drive whatever situation lands in our laps. How do we do that? How do you do that when sometimes you catch yourself giggling at the fact that you might’ve just put your own glove on backwards? It’s confidence.
It might sound really silly. Confidence. But, there are a lot of different layers to confidence. The first layer is self-confidence. You walk into a situation that you have no idea what is going on. You might have a screaming family member, you might have family dynamics that would make the Maury show seem tame or you might have a patient that is so scared of dying that your heart wrenches each time you talk to them. What do you do? You reach inside and you dig deep down into that internal tool bag and grasp your self-confidence. Take a deep breath. You are the one they are looking to.
Please don’t misunderstand now if you don’t know the answer to a question it’s OK to say, “Hey, give me a second I’ll look that up!” But, to just fall to pieces is not the way to go. It’s ok to cry softly if it’s sad. But, keep composed. Those around you are at their lowest. They will need your leadership and direction.
Now, let’s be honest, me, personally, I doubt myself all the time. I have had my certification in Stepdown nursing and currently in Hospice. When I stop and think about things, I sometimes wonder how I am trusted with such responsibility? Me? The girl who can’t eat an ice cream cone without making a mess or who falls going up steps?
The answer is yes. We are all placed in the roles we are meant to be in. This very moment, this very second, you are where you are supposed to be. So, take a deep breath, trust your knowledge and know that if you don’t know something, there is a whole tribe of us out here to help. You’ve got this.
The universe put you right where you are supposed to be for one simple reason – you are supposed to be there. Your knowledge, wisdom, education and emotional intelligence will all be called into play to help others. Nursing, in all of its many variations, is a science and an art. Just like Picasso’s abstracts, no two are the same. Each nurse will do things just a little bit differently, but, different doesn’t mean wrong. Trust in yourself. So maybe you put a glove on backward or squeeze a packet of lube too hard and it squirts all over you, just remember, you’ve got this.