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Nursing education seems unique to all other medical educations to me.  At least in my program, they really take time to focus on how all people have differing and complicated thoughts and beliefs which are based on years of life experience, religious training, and cultural norms, and the best way to use this to our advantage in a clincal and community based setting.  We are trained to not only be aware of the thoughts and needs of others, but to be conscious of our own beliefs, opinions, and convictions that drive our decision-making process.  It helps to make us more compassionate and socially aware care givers, and to focus on patient centered care for any person who falls under our care, not just those who are like us.  This heightened awareness shows me time and time again something I have been acutely aware of since the birth of my daughter: I am opinionated.  I am just am.  But I also know how to frame my thinking to incorporate the fact that most people are going to disagree with me to at least some degree, on anything I have a strong conviction about.  I know how to separate my opinions from the situation at hand and be present, and digest what I have learned anew later.  I believe that having convictions and opinions is good and healthy, as long as you don’t expect that everyone around you operates with the same set of values, and that you don’t expect to enforce those beliefs on others who have their own rich history behind what they belive to be right as well.  I can have my opinions, and you can have yours, and we can all usually co-exist in our interactions just fine with respect and positive outcomes.  Especially in a care giving situation, it’s not ever about me at all, period.

I have also been reminded lately, that I can talk too much.  I can forget in a very relaxed (as in, non-professional) environment, that my thoughts and convictions are my own, and not always shared.  So, I need to work a little harder to frame my speech in a more open and inclusive way.  To remember that, more times than not, I just don’t know as much about the people around me as I might assume. (that the word assume, almost always ends with something bad…) That, people also, don’t know me, or my background.  Therefore, I have a new assignment for myself.  To me more aware of my own thoughts, actions, and speech in all settings.  Also in how my words may affect others, or be interpreted in ways other than my intention by someone who really doesn’t know me at all.

hmm, food for thought any how.

The road to be the best nurse I can be will be a life long one, but so far, I am enjoying the challenge.