Early in my nursing career, I remember developing frustration over taking care of patients who had conditions I sensed could have been prevented. Of course I wasn’t taking the greatest care of myself either at that time. What was really going on with me was not being true to myself by being a bedside nurse. I had an innate knowing that there had to be a better way to deal with my nursing career. That “intuitive hit” propelled me away from the bedside and into the role of School Nurse which seemed a better fit for me. I could now teach students, staff and parents how to stay healthy. At least I thought I could.
What I soon discovered was I had a knowledge deficit. I really didn’t know much about prevention and wellness, just all the medical skills of basic nursing. That worked well for me doing clinical work in my job, but I was a novice at education. I remember being asked to present a class on heart health by a science teacher, and because I was a nurse he assumed I knew everything about health. As it turned out, he knew more than me and I was quite humbled by that experience. I really felt I had let him down, was totally embarrassed and needed to correct that right away. I knew I was not fully equipped to take on the role of prevention specialist, even tho I was a nurse.
So back to school I went to pursue everything and anything that was being offered on health education, prevention and wellness. And what I discovered was I had a lot to learn. But I found it to be FUN and effortless and therefore knew I had found the type of nursing that I could excel at – Health and Wellness. Before I knew it, I had completed a Masters Degree in Health Education and was perfectly poised to embark on my career as a wellness specialist.
Now back to the role of the traditional nurse. Not everyone wants to abandon that role and I totally appreciate that. After all I still believe nurses are awesome! It is still the best background I could ever have pursued to get me to this next level which is a better fit for me. We have a tremendous background on the workings of the body and illness and disease processes, but truth be told, we are not prevention specialists.
And yet, because we are nurses, people think we know everything there is about being healthy. Today most people are looking for a way out from under all the drugs and surgeries that healthcare promotes, so I think nurses can become wellness advocates to help them find the way. But first you need to assess for yourself if you have a knowledge deficit when it comes to wellness and prevention.
So please answer these questions for yourself.
Do you consider yourself an expert on how to prevent illness and disease? YES NO
Do others expect you to know everything about how to stay healthy? YES NO
Do you know more about taking care of diseases rather than keeping people well? YES NO
Hopefully this was thought provoking. My experience with nurses is they haven’t had the opportunity to focus on wellness because they are overwhelmed with all the chronic diseases they deal with daily. So my invitation to you is to follow this Wellness Blog for Nurses http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/3-ways-to-1133982.html to start acquiring information and ideas that will help you build up your knowledge on how prevention works and how it will be the lifeline to a healthier future for our patients, ourselves, and the healthcare industry as well.
Optional FREE Bonus: Here is a special Wellness Assessment that I use in my business that takes about 10 minutes and gives you 3 HIPAA certified reports that might be useful for you. https://carolebert.usana.com/pwp/#/site/1009227/page/206504958
Health Risk Assessment
Healthy Lifestyle Plan
And now please comment on whether people expect you to know everything about how to stay healthy even when you might not know, and how you handle that.