Nurse Coaching Isn’t For Robots

Now, to be clear from the start, I’m a huge proponent of documenting patient progress, across every clinical specialty.

And in our profession, hours spent on the computer has become an accepted part of our job.

As nurses, we’re taught to live by the adage, “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done.”

Yet while technology was supposed to make our professional lives easier and more streamlined, the reality is a much different story.

According to a study of 767 nurses, we spend more than ⅓ of our time behind a computer screen “documenting,” clicking away during our patients most vulnerable moments.

I can’t tell you how many times my patient and their family were weeping in front of me, and I was typing away to make sure that during a chart audit I had all my bases covered. That I didn’t leave a single box unchecked.

I was too freaking busy to take 5 minutes to sit down and simply be with my patients and connect with them on a human-to-human level.

Overwhelmed with a never-ending list of tasks and the ever-present possibility of getting sued by someone, the documentation process has become much less about continuity of care and far more about CYA (covering your ass).

When I discovered Nurse Coaching, one of the first of many changes in my practice was simply sitting down with my patients for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each shift.

No computer. No medications. No agenda.

Simply asking questions, looking them in the eye, and connecting.

And the result?

I became happier and more fulfilled by my work than I had been in nearly a decade.

My patients started opening up to me more, and I could feel that our conversations were having a more lasting impact.

Equally important, I was able to design my plan of care based on not only what I knew was best practice, but also based on what they said they wanted. Instead of wasting time doing things that they didn’t want, I asked them how they wanted to be cared for.

This is called empathetic design. It is used to create a service based on what your customer actually wants, not what you think they want. It makes for better outcomes and a higher quality service.

Although I didn’t get into nursing to become a robot, that’s what I had become.

When I became a Nurse Coach, for the first time in my career I refused to be a human-doing. I stepped back into my power as a human being. And I brought that into my work with my patients.

Nurses often believe that we have to choose between connecting with our patients or getting our work done.

But we don’t.

All it takes is five minutes, a few deep breaths, and the intention to truly connect.



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