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The benefits of self-awareness are numerous. Check out our self reflection example to write your own. Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses can help to form better professional relationships with other staff, gain insight into why certain decisions were made, or react appropriately in challenging situations (Goleman 2005).
As such, it is invaluable when managing patients; having a specific outlook on their health needs helps to build trust between nurse and patient. It also allows the nurse to make better clinical judgements regarding care as they become more considerate everytime they interact with an individual.
Self-awareness has been linked to positive behaviors such as reflective practice (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt 2011), which encourages evidence-based decision making and supports outcomes focused healthcare delivery (Trowbridge et al 2010).
Knowing one’s emotions, understanding their impact and being able to assess the thoughts of colleagues. Being conscious and mindful of not only your own behavior but the behaviour of everyone else in the ward. Having an organised internal commentary which is separate from any judgement or evaluation provided by other people.
Becoming aware that you might be wrong at times and recognizing when this happens so mistakes can be avoided in future. Finally, it is important to remain focused on patient care no matter what may be happening around them (Smith 2007).
Non-verbal communication is particularly key when working with vulnerable groups of people such as children. The nurse should observe the child and allow them to feel comfortable at their own pace, not forcing anything upon them.
Caring for a young patient requires more patience than an adult, but the same level of respect must be given in order to build trust and openness in regards to seeking healthcare (Jones et al 2007).
Appropriate eye contact whilst speaking can convey understanding and empathy for their situation, making sure that both verbal and non-verbal messages are consistent. Demonstration also plays an important role when talking with a child, using practical examples rather than just words whenever possible (McGhee & Wilson 2009).
Egan’s model encourages nurses to address the emotional and relational issues, ask open ended and non-judgemental questions, listen attentively, paraphrase ideas and reflect on both verbal and nonverbal elements of patient communication (Finlay 2009). This would enable nurses better understand the patient’s feelings in order to be able to build a connection with the patient.
As Stanton states; positive therapeutic relationships are essential for nursing practice as it helps patients to overcome physical or emotional distress (2008). Therefore, through self-awareness within Egan’s model health professionals will be enabled to provide high quality care for their perception giving them a greater opportunity for diagnosis leading towards recovery.
By becoming self-aware and understanding your own limit of capabilities, nurses are then more likely to be able to cope with difficult situations in a better way. Self-awareness can provide the insight into how you feel, which can consequently help overcome certain obstacles or personal challenges that present themselves (Herrman et al 2008).
This self-awareness provides insight as to why they may be feeling this way which allows us to get through it much quicker than if we were unaware of our subconscious feelings. Additionally, managing emotions and calming oneself is important in order to ensure that when presented with difficult tasks the nurse still has their professionalism and assurance intact (Li 2003).
Navigating the complexities of being a nurse can be daunting. It is essential to remember that as nurses it is necessary to ensure our own wellbeing if we are staying true to our commitment of providing care. Therefore, it is essential for us to take those moments and actions where required, in order for us to take control over our emotional states when caring for others.
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