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Caring starts from childhood and grows as we become adults, it is a behavior that can be felt, taught and practised, if the person has the intention to take it in. Caring is considered as an important behavior in promoting patient’s health and speeding up a patients healing process. Everyone has their own unique idea of caring. Nurses are associated with caring because they support, comfort, and help the patient recover to the best of their ability. Nurses experience many different things every day, dealing with different patients that have unique situations on a daily basis help them become better caregivers.
Personally, I have had experiences with some great nurses that have shaped my definition of what caring should portray. My grandmother, who passed away almost 4 years ago, had many health issues and has been in and out hospitals due to heart problems, surgeries, and in the end, passed away due to bile duct/liver cancer. I had watched her before her dying moments and watched nurses who consoled my mother and gave her so much kindness, I knew why I want to become a nurse at those moments because I realized I wanted to be there for people like how the nurses were there for my family and grandmother. Watching the documentary The American Nurse gave me more insight on becoming a nurse, and many perspectives on how different types of nurses show what caring looks like. This essay will go into the complications and the work that is involved to build relationships between the nurse and patient, and how a proper caring method can make a huge difference in overall quality of life. And finally it will help me answer the question “why you want to be a nurse”.
Tonia Faust made a difference in the lives of her patients. In Kristen M. Swanson article she discusses the process with which caring and connection between caregiver and care recipient are achieved in these steps. In the structure of caring the five-step are maintaining belief, knowing, being with, doing for, and enabling. If you follow this structure it will ultimately achieve the client’s well-being, which is the overall goal.
The first step in the structure of caring is maintaining belief. This step involves sustaining faith in the other’s capacity to get through an event or transition and face a future with meaning, believing in/holding in esteem, maintaining a hope-filled attitude, and offering realistic optimism. This shown in with Tonia Faust inspires the inmates to get involved with helping people in the prison and giving back to the community. Even though some of these inmates have committed horrendous crimes, volunteering really helped them build their self-esteem and it made them, and myself, believe that everyone has good inside of them and that you can learn from your mistakes.
The second step in the structure of caring is knowing. This step involves striving to understand an event as it has meaning in the life of the other, avoiding assumptions, centering on the one cared for, and assessing situations thoroughly. Tonia exhibits this step when she goes about her daily job and routine. Tonia stated in the movie that “When I’m at their bedside I’m taking care of just another human being, I don’t look at their criminal rap sheet. I know they’re here for something, what it exactly it is, sometimes, I just don’t want to know, they’re doing their time and I’m not here to judge them.” After hearing her say that, it really made me look up to her and as a person because most people would have biased and judgemental views on the prisoners. If she went about her day judging everyone for what they did the quality of her care would be very poor and would only make her job harder for herself.
The third step is “being with.” This step involves being emotionally present to the other, being physically present, sharing feelings, and having empathy. Many people have asked her how she takes care of people who have committed such horrific crimes and stated that “To me, I look at it as you sort of put yourself in their spot, how they felt, and what they went through… it gives you a different look.” With empathy and care, we can help our patients feel good, valued and respected. With empathy, we are able to be moved by another’s experiences, and with these experiences, it helps us engage and empower the patients.
The fourth step is “doing for”, this step involves doing for the other as he/she would do for themselves, comforting, performing skillfully, protecting, and preserving dignity. An example of this would be anything from daily tasks that are too difficult for a patient to complete. In the prison, Tonia helps a patient, a man who murdered his wife write and sent letters to his daughter who he hasn’t seen in over 20 years. This helped him tremendously with his relationship with his daughter, without Tonia’s help I don’t he would have been able to rekindle their relationship very well. This act really shows how much she cares for her patients, if Tonia was in his place I’m sure she would want someone to help her too.
The final step is enabling, enabling makes it easier for others to progress through life transitions and unfamiliar life events. It also involves informing/explaining, generating alternatives, and giving feedback to help enable others to practice self-care. This step would involve helping the patient get through the day to day struggles of life and teaching the skills to eventually do what they can for themselves. While working at the prison, Tonia does her necessary requirements as a nurse while at the same a time not taking away the patient’s overall potential and improvement, and with this teaches them to not only help themselves but others.
This isn’t exactly related to the five other steps but is a very important skill to have as a nurse, and that is having good communication skills with other nurses and their patients. A nurse must approach conversations in a way that any patient without any prior medical knowledge can understand what issues they have and what they are able to do. In one scene, Tonia communicates effectively when she was redressing an open wound on the foot of a prisoner with her volunteer worker Lafayette. Tonia talks in a calm and respectful manner to her volunteers and patients, this establishes a safe and healthy environment for her and all her patients.
In conclusion, the structure of caring and its five steps show up in some shape or form within a nurse-patient relationship at the prison Tonia worked at. Making sure that a nurse is maintaining belief, knowing, being with, doing for, and enabling will ensure the overall goal of clients well-being. Tonia Faust dealt with patients who were at the prison for horrendous crimes, and probably going to be in prison for the rest of their lives, but Tonia was never judgemental towards her patients and treated these prisoners with respect and dignity because they were just like any other human being who wanted to be healthy and live.
After watching the film I now understand why I want to be a nurse. The American Nurse was a very well put together film that really exhibited the qualities a nurse should have, and I hope I become like one of the many nurses in the film when my career takes off.
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