Self-reflection and a strong sense of inquiry are musts for every professional nurse. Self-reflection allows us to examine our own professional practice and clinical actions, and compare them with current best-practice recommendations or standards. Conducting a self-evaluation after receiving acknowledgment for actions that positively impacted a patient, peer, the clinical unit, or the organization helps us put a mental checkmark by behaviors we want to repeat in the future. Self-reflection is also essential after witnessing a negative patient event to examine if there were any trends or opportunities for improvement in our professional actions. By conducting this self-inventory, we can recognize specific barriers, behaviors, actions, or clinical interventions that can be repeated or avoided to attain positive outcomes.
Embrace your sense of inquiry as you seek evidence-based practice (EBP) solutions to remove barriers and identify interventions that are clearly linked to positive clinical outcomes. When we utilize our sense of inquiry, we examine our current clinical practice and skill set by performing a self-evaluation. Within each nurse is an enhanced skill set, such as phlebotomy, assessment, leadership, or bilingual language skills. It may also be extensive experience with a piece of equipment that's new to your clinical area. Identify your own enhanced skill set and discuss with your management team how you can best use this skill to meet your clinical unit's or organization's needs.
Self-reflection and a sense of inquiry can also be beneficial as you develop your short- and long-term educational goals. Setting goals lets us continuously expand the knowledge base and skill set we need to care for the complex needs of our patient populations and clearly pinpoint the actions required to close the gap between our present and desired future clinical practice. Utilize your sense of inquiry and consult with your management team members about whether your organization provides mentoring or financial resources that can assist you with meeting your goals. For more on goal setting, see last month's editorial “Our Courageous Nursing Journey.”
As our profession continues to become more specialized, our clinical skill set must be constantly refined. We need to seek new answers to barriers encountered in our daily practice and identify more efficient interventions. We must distinguish our current skills and formulate clear plans to meet our professional goals to aid our patients, peers, and organizations. Using your sense of inquiry allows you to recognize innovative solutions to patient, clinical unit, and organizational problems. I challenge you to use your sense of inquiry to identify how your unique skill set can benefit others and begin your journey toward your professional goals. Remember every EBP intervention that's used today began with asking the question: “Is there a better way?”