Imprint 2022 January - Page 35


The Basics Matter By Taylor Lynn Bell

As I walked into my first day of clinical rotations on a post-operative Med / Surg floor , two conflicting thoughts resonated in my mind . Not only was I overwhelmed with this feeling of uncertainty , but I also had a fearlessness that , because I had been a nursing assistant in a hospital before , I would have no problem with the fundamentals of nursing . I was overwhelmed because I had no idea what to expect or even if I was going to remember everything I had learned so far . All I knew was that I wanted to learn all the “ cool ” nursing skills , like changing wound dressings and having the opportunity to see a trauma brought into the emergency department . I did not give a second thought to the importance of the nursing fundamentals .

“ You motivated me to get up and this is the first time I have been out of bed since my surgery a couple days ago .” It took this simple phrase from my patient to make me realize the importance of performing the fundamentals of nursing well . This was so powerful and such a great motivator . I had gone into my patients ’ rooms every morning to assist them with tasks , such as daily living activities and environmental cleanliness , but it never dawned on me the great importance of these skills . What I had thought of as a mundane task I had to do daily as part of my duties meant the world to my patients . Taking the initiative to spend an extra 15 minutes with my patients gave them the motivation to get going . As nursing students , we learn how important it is to get our patients up and moving , but we do not truly understand what it means to our patients . If our patients know we care about the little things , they are more likely to comply with other things .
Physical activity is one of those fundamental nursing skills that is so important . It is a simple one too . Physical activity is basically any movement done by the body ’ s skeletal system that releases energy ; this includes a simple task like getting out of bed ( Pender , Murdaugh , & Parsons , 2015 , p . 121 ). Physical activity helps with reducing the risk of premature death ; it helps manage chronic health problems , improves cardiorespiratory and metabolic health , decreases the risk for obesity and becoming overweight , as well as preserves bone , joint and muscles health ( Pender , Murdaugh , & Parsons , 2015 , p . 122 ). Encouraging even the slightest bit of activity like standing and pivoting to the chair does wonders . We should not stop there though . As nurses , we do not just want our patients to get better , we want them to stay healthy . Promoting physical activity in the hospital will hopefully give them the start they need to continue long after they have been discharged from the hospital . Educating our patients that light physical activity like climbing stairs , or more extensive activity like lifting weights is beneficial and is part of our nursing interventions ( Pender , Murdaugh , & Parsons , 2015 , p . 125 ). If we can take just a few extra minutes to show our patients it ’ s important , they will notice and appreciate it . Even those patients that say , “ How can getting up out of bed and walking 306 feet twice a day really make me better ?” need to be reassured . When we get these responses , we just need to be confident in ourselves and in our abilities as nurses .
As I continue my journey to become a nurse , I have a new understanding of the importance of the fundamentals of nursing . It is easy to get caught up in doing the “ cool stuff ” ( changing a gnarly wound dressing , assessing a trauma victim , being part of the team that helped save a patient ’ s life )— this all sounds like important stuff nurses have to do , but all this do not matter if your patients do not stay healthy . As nurses , we need to start sweating the small stuff . Our bodies do some amazing things , and we need to promote that . We all chose to be a nurse for one reason or another . Ultimately , we want to help people . However , it is easy to make it all about us , and we really need to go back and make it all about our patients . We need to be confident in our approach and make sure our patients know we are there to help them get better . One of my clinical instructors said , “ It is all about how you approach your patients that gives you the opportunity to get things done .” If we , as nurses , project our confidence in our ability to care for our patients they will pick up on that , and be more open to participating in the difficult tasks they may have ahead of them . I hope to never forget the importance of the basics , and I hope as fellow nursing students , you will join me in this endeavor , to emphasize the importance of performing the fundamentals of nursing well . n
Reference Pender , N . J ., Murdaugh , C . L ., & Parsons , M . A . ( 2015 ). Health promotion in nursing practice [ Seventh Edition ].
Taylor Lynn Bell Taylor Bell is a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Trauma Center of Jefferson Abington Hospital in Pennsylvania . She graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in May of 2021 with her BSN . Along with her BSN , she has a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science majoring in Psychology from the University of Colorado , Colorado Springs . Before becoming a nurse , Taylor worked as a CNA in a long-term care facility and cardiac hospital . She also has her EMT license and worked in rural Oklahoma and in the suburbs of Philadelphia .