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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 April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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