Many factors can contribute to the protection of your nursing license such as careful thorough charting and completing the necessary requirements to keep your license. However, there are two global categories that many of these factors can be placed in:
1. Use critical thinking and self reflection in everything you do as a nurse.
2. Learn to say “no” while dismissing judgmental opinions.
For example, one way is to conduct a self evaluation, reflect on the results using critical thinking, and carry out an action plan.
For example, one self reflection question (as you do start to self reflect you will think of more) is to ask yourself “What skills am I most competent at and in what areas are my nursing skills weak?”
Now compare it to your peers and employer’s evaluations. Do their evaluations match your conceived nursing skills self-image? If not, why not?
Are you being defensive if your self assessment does not match another person’s assessment of your skills? Is your self assessment accurate, or do others have valid points about your performance and clinical decision making skills?
You need have an open mind when doing this exercise and form your answers using critical thinking and not emotion.
After assessing your nursing strengths and weakness, make a plan of action to work on skills that you feel could increase your competency level. Your weak skills could be your downfall and lead to mistakes that put your license and patient at risk.
Although an imbalanced sense of self could result in the failure to pay close attention to details when performing your highly self rated skills. These skills are often performed on “autopilot” and have room for error.
The other category that contributes to the safety of your nursing license is not caring what people think about you. What does this mean?
Do you worry that if you ask for help or the advice of more experienced nurses that you will be seen as incompetent?
Many nurses simply refuse to ask for help.
However, consider the ramifications of performing skills or acting on knowledge that you are unsure of. When a situation occurs that you need help, ask for it, because the patient’s safety and your license depends on it.
What about working that overtime shift your co-workers or manager is pressuring you to sign up for?
In your heart, you know that working another shift will leave you dead on your feet and unable to function properly. But, the unit is short staffed and you worry what they will think if you say no. It does not matter what they think! Protect yourself and your patients by mustering up the courage to say no.
What about the unsafe staffing ratio scenario? Refuse to accept assignments that are unsafe. “I was worried about what others would think of me” is not a legal defense.
I would rather lose my job for the refusal to participate in unsafe care practices, than my license for patient abandonment due to the high volume of patients under my care. It is that simple.