As long as I can remember I have always loved to learn new things. When I began my journey back in 2005 to pursue a degree I wasnt sure exactly what I wanted to focus on. What I found amazing was shortly after starting college my love for learning grew exponentially. Today nearly 10 years later I am close to realizing my goal of earning a bachelors degree in nursing. When I reflect on how much I have learned over this past year I am so grateful for the learning opportunities that the Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Western Governor University has brought to my life and to my career as a Registered Nurse.
The artifacts in my portfolio are the evidence that my program of study has prepared me to be proficient in such areas of professional nursing as, patient safety, nursing research, evidence-base practice, quality of care, effective leadership, and community health. My Leadership Practicum enabled me to discover a healthcare concern on the unit that I work on. In collaboration with team members, we were able to come up with successful solutions that were supported by evidence based research. My Community Health and Population Practicum course required me to broaden my communication skills with others. This course brought me the knowledge and experience that I needed to be proficient in communicating with patients, colleagues, and professionals in the community.
B. Professional Strengths
My professional strengths include a greater awareness of providing high quality patient-centered care in my working environment. Through my Leadership Practicum I was able to strengthen my understanding of what holistic patient-centered care truly means. It has also taught me how to prioritize the way I provide care to my patients and their families. Another strength I possess is in the area of providing evidence based research for unit based issues that affects patents, healthcare staff, and the community. My evidenced based research course is evidence that I have excelled in this area. Since taking this course I have been involved in three unit based council initiatives that have required me to evaluate and apply evidence based research. I am confident to address my managers and colleagues. I feel prepared to assist my unit in the necessary changes required to improve our unit.
My greatest obstacle to completing my BSN program was time management. I work full time on a high stress cardiac unit. Up until two weeks ago I worked three 12 hour night shifts per week. After 4 years of night shift it was starting to take a significant toll on me mentally and physically. Many of my days off I felt like I was in a fog and homework was impossible to even attempt. I also work part time in a family owned business as well as taking care of my family. The ways I have overcome this obstacle was finally going to day shift. What a huge difference that has made already in my life. I also learned to say no more often and prioritized my free time. I learned how to protect my sleep, and I researched and implemented self-care strategies. I also have a day planner and keep track of study dates and times.
Another challenge for me was earning my degree through an online program. I feel adequate with computers but by no means am I an expert. I found it difficult to navigate to find needed information at times and felt frustrated. Many times early on I felt lost within the course of study and with the online resources. I learned to reach out to my course mentors and allowed them to help guide me through the process. When frustrations arose, I learned how to take a break, sit quietly and drink a cup of tea and relax. Most of the time when I resumed my studies I was able to grasp the concepts or find the right words to write. Learning how to pace myself has been a blessing to me personally and professionally.
D. Nine Nursing Program Outcomes
1) Effective Communication-
All of my classes in some way prepared me to become effective in many forms of communication. My Community Health and Population Practicum course was greatly depended on my communication skills. My experience included interpersonal, electronic, written, and oral communication.
2) Proficient Clinical Reasoning
From the very beginning this program emphasized the importance of using evidence-based practice. Through my Evidenced Based Practice course I am prepared to use clinical reasoning directed towards using best nursing practice, evidenced by using current scientific investigation. My Leadership Practicum also required me to discover a healthcare issue and produce solutions that were supported by evidence-based research.
3) Accountable in Ethical/Legal Standards
The course Professional Roles and Values taught me the concepts of ethical and legal standards in healthcare today. Honesty and integrity are the foundation for safe and ethical care. As a nurse these character traits are essential for me to provide care that meets ethical and legal standards. As each new day bring new situations, this is one area that I will continue to grow and mature in.
4) Effective in Theoretical/Clinical/Empirical Knowledge
Western Governors University has enhanced my knowledge base by requiring a broad range of topics in humanities and science. Courses such as United States and World History and Biochemistry are examples of this. I believe my education has prepared me to understand areas of theoretical, clinical, and empirical knowledge. This will benefit my nursing profession in areas of personal development, and developing social awareness that involves the dynamics of social relationships between individuals, families and communities.
5) Providing Patient/Culturally-Sensitive Care
My course in Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership taught me about culturally sensitive issues that affect patients today. I feel prepared to assess a patients cultural needs and provide the type of patient- centered care the each person deserves and needs.
6) Effective as a Leader/Educator
My course in Leadership Experience prepared me to demonstrate effective leadership skills. It also gave me the opportunity to educate others about quality patient care. I am dedicated to advancing my nursing profession and making a positive impact on others.
7) Effective inter-professional Collaboration
The course Professional Roles and Values prepared me in my nursing practice to safeguarded important principles such as respect and justice. I believe character traits such as these contribute to the spirit of teamwork in the working environment. When people feel respected and heard they are much more likely to collaborate with others to promote a well-organized plan of care.
8) Proficient in Genomics/Genetics Knowledge
I feel that the course Genetics, Genomics, Genethics for Nursing prepared me to provide advanced patient care through the development and application of genetic training. This genetic knowledge helps me to provide compassionate nursing care and allows me to have positive outcomes with my patients.
9) Efficient in Information Technology
I have undergone intensive technology education in my BSN program. I am prepared to use information technology to provide accurate documentation of care, conduct rigorous research projects, and communicate effectively in the healthcare professional setting.
E. Professional Roles
In science the formulation of a question is where a scientist begins the process of discovery. In my role as a scientist I started with always asking the question why? Why are we doing what were doing? Is there a way to improve what we are doing in the nursing healthcare field? Questions such as these move the process in science and led me to state a hypothesis. After conducting my investigation my hypothesis then became a prediction. I was then able to conduct experiments and surveys and then analyze the results.
A detective can also be called an investigator. They are called an investigator because that is exactly what they are hired to do. They investigate by asking questions and using a computer to research information pertinent to the case they are working on. In my role as a detective I also used a computer and researched many articles to help formulate my investigations. Throughout this process I also asked numerous questions and documented responses that became the foundation of my research information. I especially enjoyed my role as a detective in projects and collaborating with my colleagues.
3. Manager of the Healing Environment
As I embarked on each project I was amazed at the level of which I grew to appreciate the role of uniting people together. On my part it took leadership, strategic awareness, team building, and strong communication between key team members. When staff was supported and communication was fostered I was able to see staff members develop their knowledge base and embrace new ideas to achieve patient-centered care.
F. Growth and Development
When I compare myself from the beginning of my RN to BSN program to today, I am astounded at the change that I see. I definitely see an enormous difference in my professional skills and my individual growth. I have made significant progress in the following skills; effective communication, leadership roles, time management, and computer technology. This program has helped me to understand that my role in the nursing field is greater than what I could have ever imagined. I recognize the influence I have and the great responsibility that I possess as a nurse. I realize now more than ever, nursing for me is not a job, or even a career, its a passion, a calling, a destiny.