Read the following statistic. Everyday adults make 35,000 decisions and young children make 3000. (Age of young children is not specified.) Test it. Start counting. Pay attention to the decisions that you make in the morning before you get out of bed. Maybe you decide if and/or when you get out of bed? What you will or will not wear on your feet as you lift them from the bed and plant them on the floor. Where are the slippers? Which slippers do you wear? Perhaps it is a pair of socks that you cover your feet with. Are they fresh? Do they need washing? Do you need to go to the drawer where the socks live and find another pair?
Do you think about other things and other people who need your attention, humans, plants, and/or pets and make decisions about them? Do you decide when and which newspaper articles you will read? Perhaps you prefer the radio. You turn it on and have no interest in the program that is on and change the station. Does your mind travel to later in the day and you begin to review all that you must do? How many is this? Does it matter? Is your head swimming? Overwhelmed?
300 Food Decisions
Surprise, surprise. Only 300 of these decisions involve food. Does this mean that we don’t eat a wide variety of foods and therefore make fewer choices? Does this include “Do I have a second cup of coffee or do I switch to tea? Does this account for conversations about portion size and choosing to drink tea without or with sugar or other sweeteners?
What does matter is that some decisions are more critical with greater consequences than others. What socks, pair of pants, where to purchase coffee might be considered less important than choices concerning medication or medical procedures. Healthcare professionals are often aware and burdened by the weight of their decisions.
Works 12 Hour Shifts
Bea is a nurse at Cardiac Critical Care Unit at a hospital in southern California where she works 12-hour night shifts, along with a few other nurses. These nurses, all women, have formed strong bonds as they rely and trust one another to give their one hundred percent to their patients. They often meet in the parking lot outside of the hospital and walk inside together to start their long shift. According to Bea, they all recognize the impact of their decisions. These women are on “guard” until the next morning when their shift ends. She implied that a sigh of relief happens at the end of the shift when their “guard duty” is over.
When asked about the decisions, this is what Bea had to share.
Decisions have three parts and these parts all have to come together, like working pieces of a puzzle. These three are: experience, education and instincts. Barbara describes it like a symphony, all parts are like moving pieces that function alone but need the other parts to be most effective to complete the decision making process.
You don’t use the word intuition to describe your decision-making process.
She agreed. Bea prefers the word instinct insinuating that it is a natural byproduct of both classroom education and years of work experience. While nurses assess patients and their families to provide better treatment, patients and their visitors are evaluating the nursing staff. “Patients watch our hands and how we use them. Hopefully hands convey confidence.”`
Aren’t patients wanting to know if they can trust you? Their care is in your hands!
What is one of the most important aspects of your job?
Paying attention to vital signs is important. So is Listening. A lot can be learned from observing conversations between patients and their visitors.
Can you be more specific?
Bea explained that patients often tell her important information about themselves (their diet, jobs, their relationships as well as details about health) . “If I hear a family member talking about God, then I know that I can probably ask, “What do you think that God would want?”
Are you saying that besides having a good nursing “medical” background and years of practicing in your field of expertise, good listening skills are also a must.