What Is Your Superpower As a Trauma Nurse? : Journal of Trauma Nursing | JTN

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What Is Your Superpower As a Trauma Nurse?

Pirrung, Joan Marie MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC

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Journal of Trauma Nursing 23(5):p 239, September/October 2016. | DOI: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000225
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We all know a superhero to be a costumed character that protects the public, fights crime, battles villains, and possesses a quality that is beyond human imagination. As children, and sometimes as adults, we admire these fictional characters for a variety of reasons. The admiration is perhaps the costume, superhuman powers, or simply the storyline of the movie or show. The bottom line is that the superheroes perform acts that inspire others, and for our purposes, the focus will be on the acts that are performed for the greater good. It is the strength, self-confidence, and sacrifice of these superheroes that are admirable. So, despite how these superheroes indulge our imaginations and fantasies of being able to conquer the world, don't we all possess a superpower that make us leaders as trauma nurses in all facets of trauma care? Is your superpower innate, or did it develop out of your passion to be a trauma nurse? I believe that all trauma nurses do possess a superpower. A superpower that keeps us motivated with a willingness to expose ourselves to a variety of traumatic circumstances both at the bedside and as leaders. We need to find our superpower(s) and use it (them) to inspire our patients back to health and lead our teams to success.

A superpower is a quality or personality trait that helps you influence others and truly shine in your role. “Ambition,” “credibility,” “competency,” “expressiveness,” “sensitivity,” “self-awareness,” “authenticity,” “reliability,” “inspiration,” “passion,” “resilience,” and “craftsmanship” are a few words that have been related to superpower qualities in leaders. Competency, sensitivity, passion, and resilience are the four qualities of trauma nursing that I define as superpowers.

Competency is the ability to perform something efficiently and independently. It is a learned action, task, or skill. To excel as a trauma nurse, you must be competent in providing care to the injured patient across the continuum of care. The superpower of being competent develops over time as you become specialized in trauma care. A competent trauma nurse is able to quickly assess a clinical situation and skillfully react and treat appropriately without hesitation.

Sensitivity is your ability as a trauma nurse to empathize with those you are caring for at the bedside or those you are leading in your department. Being sensitive is not an easily learned trait. Most of us are born to be more sensitive than others, and it is how you harness this power in your role that will make you successful.

Passion is a strong emotion that drives us to excel in our role as a trauma nurse in order to perfect a task that allows us to provide optimal care. We all had an obvious devotion to care for those who are sick or injured; otherwise, we wouldn't be in the medical profession. We took that basic desire to care for others and specialized as trauma nurses.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back, perform a difficult task again, or treat a similar problem in a more successful or improved upon way. Trauma nurses are consistently exposed to difficult traumatic events and return the following day to potentially face a similar situation with the same passion.

This list is not an exhaustive list of characteristics, and you are most likely thinking that you possess all of these qualities—You probably do. However, as leaders at the bedside or within your organization, you should identify your strongest superpower and perfect it individually and as a team. Remember, a superpower is your strongest personality trait. The trait that makes you rise to the top in the care you provide to influence your patients, motivate coworkers, or lead your team in identifying optimal processes to improve patient outcomes. Find your superpower as a trauma nurse, define your team's superpowers, and see where it leads you. At the end of the day, we should feel as though we have fought a battle—a battle in which our trauma patients were treated by competent, sensitive, passionate, and resilient expert trauma nurses.

© 2016 Society of Trauma Nurses