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Overcoming Distraction as a Nursing Skill

February 2nd, 2009

We have all been in the doctor’s office with the nurse, learning about our ailments when suddenly the nurse is forced to leave and check on something else mid-sentence.  This is an infuriating part of getting checked out in a clinic or especially a hospital, but it is sometimes a necessary part of health care.  However, it is important that this not become a routine of nurses around the country and should be avoided at all costs rather than become a part of their nursing skills.

It is inevitable that nurses in hospitals will not be distracted by the many other events that are unfolding around them, especially if something dramatic has occurred within the hospital.  However, as a future nurse, you should not let yourself be distracted by everything around you, and hone your nursing skills to cater only to your patient in front of you.  Recent studies have indicated that most nurses and doctors are interrupted on most of their patient care visits at least twice by another emergency.  While most are interrupted by a knock on the door, others are interrupted by a pager going off, as these patients are forced to wait even longer in the waiting room while the nurse checks on the new emergency.

This is exceedingly frustrating for both patients and nurses alike, as the patients who are the cause of the interruption usually are not in any life-threatening situation, nor do they realize how rude they are being to the other patients in the clinic.  Many times these interrupters take the form of phone calls, and they seem to not realize they are taking up the busy schedule of the nurse and keep droning on about the cause of their ailment.  In the health industry, this is common practice, but this does not mean that nurses have to include it in a list of their skills.  Most health care professionals hate being dragged away from their patients and would rather continue uninterrupted, but are forced to take every phone call and attend to every patient because you never know what may be occurring on the other end of the phone line.

However, this has led to a negative effect on consultations, as patients are increasingly dissatisfied with the constant interruptions, especially when their child is sick.  While it is difficult to ignore one patient over another, nursing skills have allowed most nurses the ability to juggle multiple cases at once, allowing them the flexibility to both remember patients and cater to more at once.  Additionally, these interruptions can prove more dangerous than they appear, as interruptions literally interrupt the train of thought for most nurses and doctors, which can prove to be life-threatening in emergency room situations (where the interruption rate is even higher than it is in clinics).  Regardless, these interruptions cannot be helped unless we want to carry the weight of ignoring a life-threatening condition of a patient over a patient who has nothing wrong with them, and we simply have to work this into the already long nursing skills list we have already acquired.