How I see it … Being human

This week has been challenging, but some valuable lessons have emerged. For example, when to push back, when to follow and when to be ”human”.

After years of working as an emergency nurse and in a pre-hospital emergency setting, I have found that responding in the moment during unexpected and stressful situations has become automatic. In these situations I naturally gravitate to take a leadership role, I think logically, respond in a manner that is calm and allows problem-solving, involves directing others and managing complex situations. I feel comfortable and confident operating in this environment and am sure of decisions I make at the time.

Along with this, the nature of being a nurse involves, caring, communication, advocating while managing complex situations all of which have all become automatic for me and will remain with me throughout any career or life changes that I make.

In academia curiosity is assumed and decision making appears to be less intertwined with a way of being as it is in nursing. For example, in academia there is time to consider, research and react while nursing requires continuing adaptation and problem solving with the situation at hand. This week I have wondered if adaptability, problem solving. trust, confidence and values others have for nurses in healthcare is actually valued in the academic environment?

Analyzing my decisions this week has spurred me to reflect on the coexistence of my role as a researcher, educator and nurse. Furthermore, I wonder whether those who are not nurses understand and trust the values, morals and ethical stance of nurses in the same way as other nurses do?

To me being a nurse is a lifelong undertaking, not a mode of operation I can switch on and off depending on the need or the job at hand. This week, being a nurse and responding in a calm, logical and emergency nurse like manner in academia was important and influenced outcomes in a way I believe was positive. However, in an academic environment I am not 100% sure that this was the “right” reaction.

While I consider myself a competent and confident academic, the interesting part is that, after working in academia for the best part of a decade, my default mode of operation is still thinking and reacting to situations as a nurse first and academic second. However, I do not believe that this approach is necessarily “wrong” and finding a way for these to comfortably exist is key.

I believe there is room for a mixture of roles (researcher, nurse and educator) with the attributes of all roles valued equally yet mutual understanding and valuing of the unique attributes of each is required.

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