When one imagines the personality of a typical nurse, terms that usually come up are “caring”, “passionate”, “smart”, or “critical thinker.” It’s a rare occasion that the word “innovative” is used.
However, this is a bit of an oversight. As Nurse Keith mentions in his post, nurses are innovative in paving the way for new nursing paths, whether in informatics, leadership positions, or as independent practitioners with higher degrees. But innovation can even be seen in the day-to-day workings of a floor nurse. From this very essential level of nursing, which every nurse is trained to perform early in their career, nurses must be creative in order to provide care that is above expectations.
Nurses must find a way to combine the wishes of the patient, family, medical team, dietician, pharmacist, physical therapist, respiratory therapist, and other professionals into the care of their patients. As a bedside nurse, the nurse takes on the role of advocate for their patient, ensuring that the patient remains safe and on the road to recovery. It takes quite a bit of creativity in order to respect the wishes of the patient and family and still perform satisfactory care. At this level of nursing, innovation is key for all aspects of care. On the technical side, necessary equipment that may be uncomfortable to the patient can pose a challenge that the nurse must balance. They must coordinate care with procedures that need to be done that day, and may need to find creative solutions that can incorporate all necessary care. Sometimes the care a patient requires in one day would take more than 24 hours in a normal situation! In this case, nurses must be able to find ways to coordinate care in an effective and safe manner.
Those of you who are nurses on a unit in a hospital will understand how much inventiveness you need to use on a daily, if not hourly, basis. One may attribute innovativeness to nurses expanding beyond the level of bedside nursing, but that ability to think outside the box is truly developed as a bedside nurse. This level of nursing, which all of us at one point or another have experienced, helps build the foundation of innovativeness that is vital to the profession of nursing, no matter which avenue of nursing you pursue.
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