Eight reasons why you can call yourself a nurse detective
Like a good mystery? Do you love watching a detective gather clues to solve a crime? You may not realize it, but being a nurse is like being a detective. I compared what it takes to be a detective to what it takes to be a nurse, and I found these eight ways the two careers are similar:
1. Both must be informed
Detectives know their territory. They figure out how to get around, what type of soil there is where and when it rained. They can look at a person’s shoes or car tires and know where he has been.
Nurses’ territory is their patient. They need to understand: why is he here? What signs and symptoms should I watch for to prevent complications from his illness? What goals do he and I need to achieve to get better?
2. Both must cultivate an eye for detail
Detectives keep a close eye on their surroundings, even when they think there’s nothing special to observe, because they never know what might turn out to be important to solving their case. Nurses monitor even the smallest thing about a patient because they know that every bit of information can make a difference in that patient’s care or recovery.
3. They both need to learn to read people’s faces.
Detectives and nurses watch body language and notice if it seems natural and matches their words. Criminals may lie to avoid prosecution. Patients may withhold the truth due to embarrassment, lack of understanding, or cultural beliefs. The patient may say that he is not in pain, but have facial grimaces.
4. Both become good at seeking information.
Detectives and nurses need to know what they don’t know and know where to find it. Detectives go to the public record. The nurses go to the patient’s chart.
5. They both skillfully ask questions.
Detectives and nurses get to the heart of the matter without putting anyone off guard or making them feel unnecessarily uncomfortable.
6. Both documents fine
Detectives keep meticulous notes of what they find. Nurses know that if they haven’t documented what they’ve done, as far as the world is concerned, they haven’t done it.
7. Both become tech savvy
Detectives and nurses know how to use a computer and find information through the Internet.
8. They both value their team
Detectives and nurses have reliable teams to support them and help them get the job done. Colleagues are important to solving crime and ensuring quality patient care. No profession can do it alone!
Both nurses and detectives must have good observational and critical thinking skills to gather evidence, sort through facts and examine details to reach conclusions. Detectives solve crimes to get criminals off the streets. Nurses solve problems to prevent disease and help people recover from illness. So if you’re an LPN or RN, feel free to start calling yourself a Nurse Detective.
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