Experiencing Experience

Experience_by_3mmIImage Source: Deviant Art

Lately ,there has been a lot of talk throughout the internets and my blogosphere about the effects of the Nursing Shortage on New Graduate Nurses, and how some New Graduate nurses are stressed, nervous and maybe even a little scared about the daunting tasks that lie before them.

The take home message is always about our patients. We all want to give the very best, and most safe care to our patients. No matter how much experience you may or may not have..

New or experienced, as a nurse our first priority has always been, and will continue to be our patients safety. From the first day of education and training till the day they retire nurses pride themselves are being THE patient’s advocate.

I wanted to share with my fellow nurses how we are not alone. We as nurses do not practice medicine, but we do contribute to the overall delivery of the practice of medicine. These day the practice of medicine could not be more difficult. With the discovery of more diseases and illness and the advent of new and innovative treatment methods, physicians are doing there best to navigate through these choppy waters and roller-coaster like storms of sickness. So if you think being a New Graduate nurse is tough, how do you think these new physicians feel?

So I found some comfort in the following article from the New York Times – Feverish Times.

It tells the story of a patient with a difficult unknown and unfamiliar illness, their journey through attempted and failed treatment regimens, and the ending successful diagnosis and appropriate treatment method.

The take home message of this story was that the differential diagnosis that successfully targeted the patients problem and was the key in treating, rehabilitating, and placing the patient on the road to recovery was discovered by a less-experienced, ‘newer’ physician.

It’s a truism in medicine that difficult diagnoses are most likely to be made by the most or least experienced doctors. The most senior have a wide set of experiences to draw on. Whatever the diagnosis, there is a good chance that they have seen it. The novice doesn’t count on experience for guidance. His head is still stuffed with all the possibilities he read about in school — the rare diseases just as common in his experience as the more usual ones. The fact that the doctors caring for this patient had no experience with this disease but were well aware of the potentially fatal consequences of treatment made a difficult diagnosis even more so. In this setting, making a diagnosis is not simply an act of reason; it is a leap of faith.

So the next time you are nervous, confused and maybe even a little scared about what tasks lie before you. If you can, remember that article. Remember your training, recall your education, continue to be that patient’s advocate and have faith in what you know you don’t know.

Carpe Diem


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