As a registered nurse who was willing to embark upon the path of knowledge improvement, I was passionate about continuing my educational journey and obtaining a BSN degree. Thus, in 2018, having formed a sober estimate of my resources, such as free time after work, I started the RN-BSN program at the UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation. My experiences were extremely rewarding and pleasant even though I used to work hard to submit all tasks early in the day since I preferred to take two courses at a time to accelerate the process of obtaining a new title.
Despite temporary difficulties associated with changing jobs and having to acquire new work-related skills in a short span of time, I was determined to finish the started work and constantly tried to improve my approach to time management. Thanks to those efforts and determination to have things done, I was able to take classes each start date and progress through the RN-BSN program quite quickly to finally start working on my Capstone project.
Before the RN-BSN Program
Without overstating it, the RN-BSN program has challenged me to take a fresh look at my nursing practice and approaches to patient communication, notice unobvious mistakes and areas for improvement, and translate new knowledge into practice to become more successful when assessing patients’ needs. Thanks to the program and, particularly, recommendations regarding holistic care in vulnerable populations, I have improved my practices related to communication with families by taking an active role in organizing structured family meetings to facilitate communication between SICU patients’ relatives and physicians. As the review by Adams, Mannix, and Harrington (2017) demonstrates, nurses’ participation in family meetings is a prerequisite to nurse satisfaction and better care.
Next, as a result of the program, I have become more attentive to patients’ spiritual needs, which finds reflection in the use of multiple assessment tools, including FICA. Today, assessments of subjective spiritual needs are among the priority areas in patient interviews that I conduct, and it allows me to keep other specialists informed about what the patient expects from care teams and what can make him or her extremely uncomfortable. This change in priorities, I believe, enables me to improve patients’ psychological well-being, thus contributing to health restoration.
The program continuously challenged me to learn more about myself as a nurse and use self-awareness to reach new heights. Thanks to activities promoting self-awareness, such as personality type tests, I understand that being an empathetic and hard-working person, I can regard nursing as my true vocation. As a professional caring for SICU patients, I discover new opportunities for lifelong learning and improvement on a daily basis since there are always people from exotic minority cultures or with quite rare health conditions, and I never miss the chance to ask relevant questions or read studies to take my understanding of patients’ concerns to the next level.
The first important change related to lifelong learning that the program has facilitated is transforming me into an active user of databases for nursing and medical professionals. For instance, many assignments in NURS 4325 RN-BSN Nursing Research involved evaluating and criticizing scientific articles found in relevant databases, and I still resort to literature search whenever I have questions related to advances in the science of caring (University of Texas – Arlington, n.d.). As for the second change, through assignments related to the Capstone project, the program has made my approach to researching clinical problems more structured and rational, and I am definitely going to use the process (goal-setting using SMART goals, identification of benefits for the audience/affected populations, etc.) in the future.
Novice to Expert
Multiple steps have been taken by me to become an expert in patient care and identify my future goals. To start with, after obtaining my AAS degree in nursing, I started my career as an RN floor staff and tried a number of nursing roles to gain valuable experiences linked with assessing patients, interprofessional collaboration, planning patient education, and other tasks. Next, I started the RN-BSN program to place my workplace experiences in a meaningful context and delve into theory.
In NURS 3345 Transition to Professional Nursing and NURS 3375 Health Policy and Legal Aspects of Professional Nursing, I paid special attention to studying nursing ethics and care professionals’ legal responsibilities to successfully respond to SICU patients’ unique care needs (UTA, n.d.). Regarding particular changes, the program has encouraged me to include the knowledge of ethics in my definition of a good professional and avoid teamwork failures and malpractice by reporting patients’ condition in an accurate and timely manner (Andersson et al., 2018). Finally, experiences as a care provider have encouraged me to give preference to clinical practice in the final course and research current problems in wound care.
Role Transition to Professional Nursing
Since 2018, my philosophy of nursing has evolved to become more focused on the nurse’s ability to strengthen links between patients and different parties, such as physicians, nursing assistants, and families, thus facilitating the provision of necessary and individualized care. Also, when progressing through NURS 3345 Transition to Professional Nursing, I was fascinated by Roy’s adaptation model of nursing (Maghsoodi, Naseri, & Hemmati Maslak Pak, 2016; UTA, n.d.).
Therefore, one specific change in my attitudes to nursing was the recognition of the nurse’s role in helping patients to adapt to physiological and psychological changes with maximum comfort. As for changes to the image of nursing, I have become much more open to the idea of family inclusion and recognized family education as one of the priorities of critical care nursing. To make this philosophy reflected in practice, I have started using my psychology knowledge to provide stress management recommendations to families when explaining discharge instructions.
My impressions of the program are extremely positive, and, as a person who combines work and studies, I appreciate the opportunity to work on assignments at a comfortable pace. All students in the program are free to apportion their time in the best possible manner, and this is the key aspect that worked for me and prevented me from burnout and extra stress. Regarding my suggestions, the program is structured in a logical way, but I suppose that it would be even more challenging and practice-oriented if students were expected to submit the videos of themselves presenting their Capstone projects to receive feedback on presentational skills from other students.
The aspect that I hope would never change is the opportunity to exchange experiences with colleagues on a regular basis – these discussions have expanded my scope of knowledge regarding issues that affect every RN. Finally, I would definitely recommend this program to my acquaintances with associate degrees who wish to reach new heights in the future. It is because by offering flexibility and gradual progression from basic to more complicated topics, this program supports the acquisition of implementable knowledge.
Adams, A. M. N., Mannix, T., & Harrington, A. (2017). Nurses’ communication with families in the intensive care unit – a literature review. Nursing in Critical Care, 22(2), 70-80. Web.
Andersson, A., Frank, C., Willman, A. M., Sandman, P. O., & Hansebo, G. (2018). Factors contributing to serious adverse events in nursing homes. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(1-2), e354-e362. Web.
Maghsoodi, E., Naseri, O., & Hemmati Maslak Pak, M. (2016). The effect of care plan application based on Roy’s adaptation model on the spiritual well-being of elderly people in Urmia nursing homes. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, 5(11), 408-414.
University of Texas – Arlington. (n.d.). Nursing – Undergraduate programs. Web.