An opportunity to transform personal professional skills for the better due to the experience gained is an important aspect in any profession. Nursing is an area where employees face difficult situations and often face ambiguous choices, which prompts specialists in this field to not only adapt to hard working conditions but also self-develop. Regarding my individual practice, I happened to experience a situation that influenced my further professional priorities significantly and, in many respects, determined the nature of my attitude to emerging problems and the worldview in general.
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As a volunteer nurse at Howard University Hospital’s Oncology clinic, I witnessed a conflict that changed my perception of many values and life challenges. During the second week of work, I watched one of the patients waiting for his turn for an infusion inquired from another nurse about the reasons for the delay in the procedure. After receiving an answer that one of the machines was out of order, the man in a wheelchair made a scandal and was extremely dissatisfied with such work of the medical staff. The situation worsened after the nurse heard an alarm in one of the wards and was forced to leave her post, which angered the patient even more. His conviction that the employees of the clinic refused to give him proper attention turned into a rage, and the situation was extremely tense.
Despite the patient’s anger, I decided to do my best to smooth out the conflict. When approaching the man, I tried to reason with him and calm him down, which, nevertheless, did not produce the desired effect. I knelt beside his wheelchair and listened attentively to his angry exclamations, nodding and agreeing periodically. Not seeing an aggressive response from me, the patient began to calm down, and in the end, he apologized for his behavior. However, what struck me most was his life situation, which prompted a flash of rage in him. The man was extremely depressed as he was undergoing a 4-stage cancer treatment while his wife was collecting documents for a divorce. When seeing what frustration the patient was in, I apologized to him, but I was also on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The story was extremely sad, but the man gradually came to his senses and thanked me for participating.
After this incident, I began to relate differently to the problems of other people, and my worldview changed significantly. I realized that one could not judge the behavior and actions of a person without knowing his or her personal life path. Recently, I have understood that no matter how difficult and ambiguous the situation I would be in, I should adhere to my moral principles and prevent aggression since life is a series of difficult choices. Challenges provide an opportunity to gain experiences that, in turn, are accumulated and allow treating problems more neutrally. In addition, nursing as a field of medicine is an area in which self-sacrifice and participation play important roles and form the professionalism of employees. It has become easier for me to work in groups and be involved in collaborative interventions because such projects are less stressful. I have stopped being distracted by minor challenges and concentrated on my individual growth as a specialist in the field that makes it possible for people with health problems to relive their difficulties easier.