Throughout welcome week we had this phrase repeated to us at every possible opportunity that we were undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing degree and that this was both a science and an art.
“Well great” I thought, “Did Fine art at A-level and love biology” but this phrase doesn’t quite mean what you think.
Science – Yes, it’s the part some people struggle with in theory, it’s technical and its in depth and there’s no hiding from the big 2 hour Anatomy and Physiology exam at the end of year 1 BUT when you really learn the science of it all is in practice.
When a patient is on a cocktail of drugs to support various conditions and you have the scientific knowledge to know that their regime of warfarin, for example, will mean you need to check their INR (International Normalized Ratio – measurement of the bloods clotting ability) before admitting them for surgery. This is when this scientific knowledge is consolidated or when a patient asks you how they’re treatment works and you can explain it without hesitation. When people are throwing confusing words or titles at you like Canthoplasty with lacrimal drainage and punctal plug insertion and you know exactly what they mean: You can’t help but feel like a little bit of a scientist for a second or two.
Art – It is undisputable in my opinion that caring is an art form that not everyone is blessed with. That instinct that drove you to go into this profession, to devote your working life to ensuring those under your watch feel supported, well looked after and above all truly cared for is a skill just as impressive as Monet’s Water lilies or Van Gogh’s starry night. Granted running to a patient’s bedside with a commode may not be the traditional face of art but it’s the devotion to the patient’s wellbeing that is the thing of beauty.
It’s a balance that like all the best things (a good curry or a well-made cocktail) takes time and dedication to perfect. Hence why we’re given 3 years to get it just right!