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Being a great nurse takes more than good training. There are other numerous characteristics and qualities that good nurses have. Some come naturally, and others are acquired in the field of practice.
One of the most commonly stressed qualities which come to some nurses naturally but is acquired in others is self-awareness. It plays a critical role in the health of nurses and also in the quality of care they provide to their patients.
What is Self-Awareness in Nursing?
Self-awareness in nursing is about identifying your internal state, intuition, preference and resources. Self-awareness is an essential tool that positively affects patients by bridging the relationship between them and the nurses.
Self-awareness also helps nurses to analyse and guide behaviour in a genuine way that not only improves them as people and professionals but also the quality of care they provide to patients.
Why is Self-Awareness Important in Nursing?
There are numerous benefits and reasons why nurses should take self-awareness seriously. Some of the reasons why self-awareness is important to include:
It helps build a therapeutic relationship
Fostering a positive relationship between the caregiver and the patient is critical in quality healthcare delivery and patient safety. Self-awareness can help caregivers analyse and adjust their behaviour in the most genuine way possible to foster a therapeutic environment that promotes interpersonal relationships between the caregiver and the patient.
This can drastically boost the progress and enhance the quality of the recovery process. On the part of caregivers, self-awareness helps them process stress and other unresolved emotions, which allows them to provide better services.
Understand clients better
Understanding your clients is critical in helping you attend to their needs. This is more so the case when working with the elderly. Clients might have a hard time controlling their emotions and even understanding themselves. Being self-aware can help you better understand the patient’s emotions and condition and see where they’re coming from.
Self-aware nurses can react more appropriately to situations and assess the behaviours of other nurses and healthcare providers, and helping them realise that each client has unique needs and thoughts and how they can adjust to meet these needs.
It promotes empathy
Empathy is a vital quality in the healthcare industry. It comes with emotional intelligence and plays a critical role in ensuring nurses and other health providers can deliver better quality healthcare.
Empathy is particularly important among nurses who work with the elderly, often plagued by sadness, among other negative feelings.
It is common for most elderly people to go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member. The tendency to feel lonely and vulnerable among such patients is high. Caring for the needs as much emotional care as physical care.
Self-aware nurses are more emphatic about the patient’s feelings and have the necessary emotional intelligence to provide proper care.
How to Increase Self-Awareness
Though a critical trait in the best nurses, self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to all nurses. Even to those that it comes naturally to, there is still room for improvement. There are a few ways you can improve your self-awareness to better take care of yourself and your clients. Some of the ways you can improve self-awareness include:
In order to understand your personality, you need to understand the nature of your mind. The subconscious mind has vast impressions that are buried deep inside. These are hard to uncover and analyse. As you go through the day, it’s important to remain alert and objective about how the mind works and responds to various stimuli. It is a critical step in overcoming negative emotions and reactions and improving how you respond to various stimuli and reactions.
Getting feedback from your peers
Another exceptional method of improving your self-awareness is encouraging your peers to share feedback on responding to various situations. Typically, most of these reactions are subconscious and you’re probably not aware of them. Having someone mention them so you can bring them to fold and help you adjust your behaviour. Knowing your peers and fellow workmates are checking up on you also ensures you’re constantly thinking about how you respond to adapt to different situations.
In retrospect, you can also observe other nurses highlight any mistakes you notice and bring them to their attention. Not only does this help you improve you bring such matters to light, but it also helps you be aware of your own actions.
Becoming self-aware does not help you become a better nurse and caregiver but also allows you to overcome personality defects that could otherwise affect your performance and how you relate with your clients.
Being in a demanding field like nursing, it’s easy to become emotionally unstable, restless and upset. Self-awareness can help you keep yourself in check keep your mental health and overall health in check.