By Nurse Nacole
I’ve trained many new nurses, ranging in age and nursing experience, and I’ve seen some individuals have issues with trusting the learning process. As people, we think we know what our strengths and weaknesses are. We believe we know what we need to learn and what we know to be true. I’m here to tell you this isn’t true, not even close. We are blind to certain aspects of our educational journey, and we need a third-party to assist us in seeing the full picture.
I got this notion from my husband, as he was having trouble in his Jiu-Jitsu course and felt he needed one thing and was getting another. After a conversation with his instructor, he found that he was getting exactly what he wanted but in a different way. That is the key, communication. Instead of assuming you know better, thinking you “got it” already, communicate what you need but never close your mind to the process itself. The goal is to evaluate your overall performance and thinking process, and NOT give you what you think you need. You might think you know yourself, but guess what? We only see what we want to see. There is no way in hell you know what you lack, humans aren’t built like that. We are emotional creatures. Allow your instructor the opportunity to explain the process to you. More often than not, you don’t see your weakness, the areas you are struggling in. It isn’t about perfection. It’s about the learning process. If you knew everything, you wouldn’t need training. Allow for professional growth and go with the process.
You think: I’m great at time management. I’m doing well. I’m only behind sometimes.
Reality: You are chronically behind in performing nursing duties, you are not doing well.
… it’s not up to you to determine what is a major versus a minor concern. You don’t have the required critical thinking skills (for this new position) to see that far along. This is why instructors are needed, to see the big picture, to evaluate the potential within you. If you are unwilling to adapt and change, there is only so much dialogue will achieve …
I know, it’s hard to let go of control, but please understand that you are learning new concepts. Understand the setting and soak up what you can, when you can. You’re not insecure in realizing you don’t know everything. You are smart in knowing your knowledge deficits. Because more often than not, your instructor is assisting you in developing your professional performance. If you don’t allow this, these troublesome areas will follow you throughout your nursing career. When I was told I needed to verbalize my concerns more by my instructor, I got defensive. She didn’t know me, what if my concerns were stupid?
I didn’t see it as a problem. It wasn’t until an event happened, that I finally saw this issue as a true professional concern. My eagerness to avoid confrontation was a problem. It was causing problems. Ever since management spoke to me about this, I’ve changed my behavior. I finally understood what my instructor initially meant. Fear led to avoidance, which led to problems not being managed promptly. Now, I advocate, I stand up and I go home whole, happy, and knowing I did the right thing. But when I was in the learning process, I didn’t see it as a big deal. I blew off my instructor’s concerns as being dramatic. I regretted it for a long time and now, as an instructor myself, I see the value in recognizing different perspective and viewpoints. They are crucial for growth and development. If four people see the same issue in your performance, it is you, not them. They all saw the same behavior, they all came to the same conclusions. Stop trying to convince everyone what they saw was wrong and focus more on evaluating your behavior.
Trust your instructors are trying to help you. The learning process isn’t an “us versus them” situation. It’s a journey. You should be planning to grow and to adapt, and not doing what you find or feel is important based on an arbitrary aim in your mind. That is not growth, that is not trust. That is insecurity, and it will come back to haunt you professionally.