The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) essentials emphasize concepts such as patient-centered care, inter-professional teams, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, patient safety, informatics, clinical reasoning/critical thinking, genetics and genomics, cultural sensitivity, professionalism, and practice across the lifespan in an ever-changing and complex healthcare environment” (AACN, 2008, p. 4). Therefore, based on these essentials, as a nurse, I am expected to be competent in various nursing areas as part of upholding professionalism in the practice. This paper is my reflection of the course that I have undertaken so far to assess areas where I am competent as a nursing student.
Due to my active learning throughout this course, I am prepared to deliver compassionate, patient-centered, and evidence-based care that respects patient and family preferences. As a nurse, my focus should be on the patients to ensure that they are taken care of by offering quality care and respecting their autonomy and decisions. According to Sedig (2016), expressing respect for patients’ “autonomy means acknowledging that patients who have decision-making capacity have the right to make decisions regarding their care, even when their decisions contradict their clinicians’ recommendation” (p. 13). Therefore, I have gained enough knowledge about how I should interact with patients respectfully, ethically, and professionally.
I am also competent to implement patient and family care around the resolution of end of life and palliative care issues, such as symptom management, support of rituals, and respect for patient and family preferences. I understand what it means to lose a loved one or make a decision to end one’s life, the grieving process, and how, as a nurse, I should support families to make their decisions and grieve according to their beliefs and rituals.
Additionally, I can provide appropriate patient teaching that reflects the developmental stage, age, culture, spirituality, patient preferences, and health literacy considerations to foster patient engagement in their care. Patient education plays an important role in ensuring that patients make the right decisions concerning their care. I acknowledge that patients should assume responsibility and be part of their care process. This course has shown me that for patients to be in a position to carry such responsibilities, they need to be educated effectively, and thus I am competent to execute this duty as a nurse.
Similarly, I am competent enough to implement evidence-based nursing interventions as appropriate for managing the acute and chronic care of patients and promoting health across the lifespan. According to Black et al. (2015), evidence-based practice is a “problem-solving approach to clinical care that incorporates the conscientious use of current best practice from well-designed studies, a clinician’s expertise, and patient values and preferences” (p. 14). Therefore, based on this definition, I believe that nurses should apply this approach by considering recent research findings in different areas of their work based on the presenting patient needs. I am fully prepared to use evidence-based practice in my nursing, especially when determining the best course of treatment in the promotion of acute and chronic care and health across one’s lifespan.
I am also competent in facilitating patient-centered transitions of care, including discharge planning and ensuring the caregiver’s knowledge of care requirements to promote safe care. One of the important skills that this course has given me is the ability to work closely with patients, especially when transitioning from hospitals to their homes to ensure that they are fully informed and prepared to take care of themselves. I am a firm believer that patients should be equal partners in ensuring their wellbeing. This course has been an eye-opener in this area and I now have the relevant skills on how to assist patients to transition and take care of themselves in the conform of their homes.
When I started my nursing education I thought that this profession operates within strict protocols and guidelines that have to be followed without making changes. However, this course has been useful in debunking this myth. I am now competent to revise the plan of care based on an ongoing evaluation of patient outcomes. I have learned that, as a nurse, I need to exercise discretion and make the appropriate decisions based on the prevailing circumstances. For instance, after going through this course, I am informed that I should constantly monitor my patients and make changes based on the patient outcomes following my evaluation.
AACN essentials play an important role in shaping nursing education to prepare students adequately before they start their careers. This course has prepared me in various ways and equipped me with the requisite skills and knowledge for the promotion of quality and safe provision of care services to patients. I am prepared to offer compassionate care characterized by evidence-based practices as the hallmarks for patient-centered care. Additionally, I am prepared on how to respect patient autonomy and decision-making especially on matters related to end-of-life choices and grieving. I am also a competent patient educator to enhance effective self-care among patients especially as they transition from hospitals to home settings. I feel that this course has prepared me enough to become a better nurse.
AACN. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Web.
Black, A. T., Balneaves, L. G., Garossino, C., Puyat, J. H., & Qian, H. (2015). Promoting evidence-based practice through a research training program for point-of-care clinicians. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(1), 14-20.
Sedig, L. (2016). What’s the role of autonomy in patient-and family-centered care when patients and family members Don’t agree? AMA Journal of Ethics, 18(1), 12-17.