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15 Things Only Nurses Would Understand

15 Things Only Nurses Would Understand

Nurses have a highly specialized role in society. They play an integral role in the medical field. It is undebatable that they don’t get enough credit for all the hard work that they do. Here are 15 things that only nurses will understand.

1. Life is fragile.

It is inevitable that we must all die. Yet as often as people pass away, most of us will only experience this tragedy a few isolated times in our lives. Nurses on the other hand deal with death and illness on a daily basis and understand all too well just how fragile life can be.
They get to hear the stories of people who were fine one day and then found themselves laying sick or dead in a hospital bed the next. Being a nurse is rewarding in many aspects, one of which is the daily reminder to say “I love you” as often as you can to the ones you hold dear to your heart.

2. There is power in showing gratitude.

The most amazing feeling any nurse will ever experience is when a former patient or survivor comes back into the unit to say thank you. When you are extremely sick, you will need a lot of care and patience. Chances are your loved ones will not have the time so you will have to rely on the kindness and compassion of nurses.

The best nurses are the ones who go above and beyond to provide the best care even to the most difficult patients. It makes the job all the more rewarding when a patient comes back after getting better to simply say thank you. This heartwarming gesture is a powerful display of gratitude and is one that nurses understand and appreciate all too well.

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3. Health is wealth.

With the majority of people coming sick to hospitals to treat food related illnesses, nurses understand all too well the importance of good health. It is not uncommon for nurses and doctors today to preach preventative treatment to patients by stressing the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. Like the old sayings, “ An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” and “Let food be thy medicine.”

4. The importance of listening.

An important aspect of being a nurse is the ability to listen and show empathy. To provide the best care, you must be able to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and feel like they do. While nurses aren’t therapists, they must be able to listen like one. Sometimes the nurse may be the only one around when a loved one passes away, which makes them a crucial asset in delivering any last words or wishes.

5. The many uses for Vicks® VapoRub™.

Vicks® VapoRub™ is to a nurse, what duct tape is to a handyman. Whether it’s putting it in a face mask to relive bad smells in the hospital or rubbing it on sore feet to relieve the pain of being on your feet for long hours, the ointment has many uses that only nurses will know about.

6. Family members will ask you to diagnose them.

When you are a nurse, you probably have family members and friends always wanting to diagnose them.

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7. Nudity is no big deal.

To a nurse, seeing people naked is just part of the day’s job. A nurse learns to see the human body from a clinical perspective. There is only so many times you can give people sponge baths and catheters before you become immune to the novelty of seeing other people’s nakedness.

8. The importance of comfortable foot ware.

Nurses work some of the longest shifts of any industry. They move at top speed for hours at a time. When a patient’s life hangs in the balance, the last thing a nurse needs to worry about is the throbbing ache and pain in her feet. Nurses understand all too well the importance of comfortable and proper foot ware.

9. Caffeine is its own food group.

Nurses rarely find the time to slow down to a hearty meal. They learn to keep the body moving through high caffeinated drinks like coffee and energy drinks, always sipping on the go. Since most nurses–especially those who work in the E.R–don’t have the luxury of allocated breaks and lunches, they more than any other profession understand the importance of caffeine.

10. The joy of seeing a patient recover.

Every job has its rewards and for a nurse it’s seeing people leave the hospital healed. Knowing that you were a key part of the healing process is what makes the long days or nights so worth it.

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11. Seeing people for who they are.

When you see someone with a disease, it’s easy to see them as just their disease–cancer, AIDS, heart problems etc. However, a nurse has to look past the ailment to see the person.

12. There is power in positive thinking.

A nurse knows from first-hand experience the power of the mind. A patient with a positive mindset can often overcome the impossible. In the course of their carriers, nurses will witness personally the awesome power of the human will to live, as well as the mind’s ability to heal the body.

13. The value of insurance.

Healthcare is not cheap. Nurses see and have to treat too many people without insurance on a daily basis. They know too well the importance of keeping your loved ones medically insured.

14. There is no avoiding bodily fluids.

Most people have a definite “gross” factor when coming into contact with other people’s bodily fluids. A nurse will come in contact with pee, stool, blood, snot, saliva, vomit, and other “gross” fluids to varying degrees on a daily basis. Nurses understand that there is no avoiding bodily fluids.

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15. Know when to let go.

Family members of patients want nurses to do everything they can to keep their loved ones alive. While this is the goal, there are certain cases where there is nothing more you can do. Nurses know all too well that, sometimes, there is nothing more you can do and as such must help the patient and their families let go.

Featured photo credit: Nurse with crying baby via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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