Community nurses operate in a highly complex environment, which may cause them to face a variety of personal challenges. For example, caring for patients from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds may prove to be difficult for nurses due to differences in values and beliefs (Harkness & DeMarco, 2016). It may also be challenging for nurses to establish therapeutic relationships with patients as it requires using personal social and emotional resources (Harkness & DeMarco, 2016). For me, one of the most significant challenges in community nursing is understanding the patient’s concerns. People differ in the ways they perceive information and apply it in their lives. To influence patients’ self-care behaviors, it is crucial to understand their motivations and goals.
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The course has been beneficial for me in developing my abilities and knowledge. On the one hand, it provided me with valuable information on the issues of community and public health nursing. This helped me to understand the context in which community nurses work, as well as the strategies they can use to improve their approach to nursing care. On the other hand, the course was instrumental in developing my understanding of patients and their differences. I learned about the factors that influence people’s health behaviors and the challenges patients face when they want to improve their health. I believe that this will help me in providing better care to patients in my future nursing practice.
Studying holistic nursing was also helpful because it addressed the need for self-care and self-reflection. Nursing is indeed a highly challenging profession, and working in community or public health settings creates additional pressure on care providers. In this context, self-care and self-reflection can help nurses to achieve and maintain balance in their lives and fulfill their needs, whether personal or professional (Blum, 2014). Self-assessment is a powerful strategy that can help nurses to identify their needs, concerns, and goals (Blum, 2014). To prepare for this reflection, I completed the self-assessment tool proposed by Dossey and Keegan (2016). The results showed that there is an imbalance in my life that affects my emotional well-being and satisfaction. For me, self-care is mostly focused on my physical well-being and involves nutrition, exercise, and home environment. While these aspects are essential to self-care, it is also essential to use strategies for managing stress and negative emotions in a healthy way (Dossey & Keegan, 2016). Thus, my current self-care strategies require some improvement.
Holistic self-care strategies that can be used by community nurses in dealing with community health challenges vary depending on nurses’ needs and concerns. They focus on maintaining a balance between all the different spheres of life, including work, relationships, health, mental health, the environment, and others. Applying the principles of holistic self-care to their personal lives may help nurses connect with patients while increasing their satisfaction with life. Too often, nurses do not practice what they preach, even when it comes to health promotion (Ross, Yang, Wehrlen, Perez, Farmer, & Bevans, 2019). In my opinion, and based on the content of the course, the best self-care strategy is mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness can help nurses to understand their needs and develop strategies for fulfilling them. It also helps to acknowledge the areas where self-care is most needed (Halm, 2017). In a way, this reflection was an exercise in mindfulness, as it helped me to identify areas for personal development. I will use this information to address the areas of my life that require improvement, including emotional well-being and stress management. I believe that it will help me to achieve my goals as a community nurse and fulfill my potential both in clinical practice and in my personal life.
This drawing reflects my interpretation of the knowledge and experience I gained in this course. It represents both the role of a community nurse and the concepts of holistic self-care. At the center of the drawing is a heart, which is a symbol for the nurse and her emotions, experiences, and feelings. The circle represents nursing practice, and the rays stemming out of the ring are the nurse’s connections to patients in the community. The lines going inward to the heart are a symbol of the nurse’s challenges prompted by her role. These are the spiritual, social, and emotional concerns that stem from therapeutic relationships with patients. Holistic self-care is the cross-like patch on the heart as it keeps the personal, practice-related challenges of nursing from impacting nurses’ emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Blum, C. (2014). Practicing self-care for nurses: A nursing program initiative. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(3). Web.
Dossey, B.M & Keegan, L. (2016). Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning
Halm, M. (2017). The role of mindfulness in enhancing self-care for nurses. American Journal of Critical Care, 26(4), 344-348.
Harkness, G.A. & DeMarco, R.F. (2016). Community and public health nursing: Evidence for practice (2nd ed). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Ross, A., Yang, L., Wehrlen, L., Perez, A., Farmer, N., & Bevans, M. (2019). Nurses and health‐promoting self‐care: Do we practice what we preach? Journal of Nursing Management, 27(3), 599-608.