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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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