Nursing studies

How to become a good problem solver

Nursing students need to learn how to deal with multiple problems in the clinical environment.
Problem solving

Nursing students need to learn how to deal with multiple problems in the clinical environment

Nurses face many problems in the workplace on a daily basis, so the ability to solve or overcome them is essential to the job. If you are a nursing student and feel you lack problem-solving skills, what kind of help can you get?

Image: Getty

Discipline lead for healthcare practice at the University of Derby Michelle Brown says health policies and protocols can help guide students through a multitude of situations. Problems can range from patient issues such as the sudden deterioration of a patient or talking with distressed relatives, to dealing with staffing difficulties and delegating appropriately, she says.

Its not easy trying to provide high-quality care in challenging environments where a number of these variables may threaten that care.

Mentorship

As a student in

...

Nursing students need to learn how to deal with multiple problems in the clinical environment

Nurses face many problems in the workplace on a daily basis, so the ability to solve or overcome them is essential to the job. If you are a nursing student and feel you lack problem-solving skills, what kind of help can you get?

Image: Getty

Discipline lead for healthcare practice at the University of Derby Michelle Brown says health policies and protocols can help guide students through a multitude of situations. ‘Problems can range from patient issues such as the sudden deterioration of a patient or talking with distressed relatives, to dealing with staffing difficulties and delegating appropriately,’ she says.

‘It’s not easy trying to provide high-quality care in challenging environments where a number of these variables may threaten that care.’

Mentorship

As a student in clinical practice, you will be given a caseload of patients and expected to deal with whatever happens while on duty. This does not mean you are left to fend for yourself, says Ms Brown – you will also have a mentor who will supervise you.

‘But what is expected is that nursing students can rationalise their decisions and decide the best course of action,’ she adds. ‘This is all essential preparation for their transition to becoming a newly qualified nurse.’

Practical experience

In the academic environment, many higher education institutions routinely use clinical simulation to consolidate the theoretical learning that underpins practice. ‘Students may be encouraged to examine the evidence surrounding specific cases and conditions, and are then placed in a simulation suite, putting the theory into practice and solving problems as they occur,’ says Ms Brown.

Academic writing at level 6 should also help to develop problem-solving skills, she says. ‘Students need to identify the evidence and cite it but also make sense of it. This involves suggesting possible solutions and demonstrating their competence and understanding.’

Dos and don’ts when presented with a problem

Do:

• Try to remain as calm as possible. This may be difficult but panicking can hinder your ability to think.
• Try to process what is happening – look at the issues and rule out the more serious or significant options first.
• Involve your colleagues where appropriate – trying to deal with issues on your own can sometimes be the wrong thing to do.

Don’t:

• Feel that you have to solve every problem, especially if you are a student or newly qualified nurse. You are not expected to know everything.
• Be too embarrassed to ask for help.


Dean Gurden is a freelance health writer

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