I've worked in healthcare for almost a decade now, and I started at the bottom (now we here!)
I worked my way up from a nursing assistant getting 10$ an hour, to a PCA starting at 15$ an hour, to a nurse makin the bigger bucks. (don't you know its rude to ask how much I make now?!) :P
But no matter what my title was, no matter how much I made, I've always made JUST AS MUCH of a difference in my patients lives!
That being said, here are my own personal guidelines that I follow, to be a great and dignified, yet very humble nurse!
DONT BE THAT NURSE!
The one who walks into a patient's room, is asked for a bedpan, and walks out to call the CNA! Are you f*cking kidding me? That is not only disrespectful to your assistant, like, "here, you do all the shit work!" ..who is probably doing ten other things.. but how could you do that to a patient? What if you had to sh*t and couldn't walk to a bathroom, and someone made you hold it for even 5 minutes because they felt "too good" to help you? Wow. Nice. If you do that, you are either snobby as hell or just straight up lazy! Yes it is the responsibility of the CNA to put patients on bedpans but you were assigned to that same patient, which means you attend to their needs as well. A CNA is ther to assist you not do everything for you. You work as a team and keep the patient's well being at the center of everything, which includes helping them relieve themselves!
Dont be that nurse who thinks you are better than anyone and everyone who makes less money than you. Because where would you be without that person? Everyone is important. Even housekeeping! Whenever I see someone emptying the garbage in a patent's room I thank them. Because if they didn't do it, I would have to, and I'm busy enough!!! That person may have a family to feed, bills to pay, school, and a lot going on in their lives. What makes you think your life has any more value or meaning than theirs? Don't be like that. Everyone matters.
Don't cut too many corners. I get it, we're all so effing busy and overworked, it's hard to do everything exactly by the books. But if you are doing something that is putting a patients safety at risk, that's a no-no. You put the patient in harms way as well as your nursing license, your facility, and everything you worked so hard for. It's not always smart to use short cuts.
Don't treat patient's as if they're just a diagnosis. They are people. Treat them how you'd want another nurse to treat you, or your loved ones. It's only cool when Dr. House treats them like puzzles! ...Even though that's television, or, netflix in my case.
Don't become a PLANT! You know, the nurse who just sits in a chair and charts! Charting is horrendous especially when you're doing it by hand! I know! But charting these days is taking us right away from the bedside! If it's busy and you don't want to forget things, it helps to carry a little book around, and write down the things you need to chart, and the times you did those them. I'm not saying not to chart at all during your shift, that's impossible.. but if it's what you spend majority of each hour doing, it may be taking you away from your patients and actually leave you with more to do at the end of your shift. Plus you don't want to get hemorrhoids do you?!
Don't lose your temper with patients or co-workers. I had a co-worker one time throw a phone at me, and I've been talked down to A LOT by people taking their frustration out on me, and not because I really did anything wrong at the time. It was just a hectic night. It's okay to vent and even stand up for yourself if you feel you have to, but there is always a mature and respectful way to do things. If someone has made a mistake, first confront them like an adult, then go to your supervisor if they don't listen. Do not yell, name call, or get physical. That should be common sense!
Treat everyone with respect
Realize that we all work together and are all valuable
Do your part, help others
Answer call lights
Be assertive, and mature
Put your patient needs at the center of everything
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY! Laugh, enjoy yourself, form strong bonds with people. Love what you do! And give yourself credit for ALL THAT YOU DO! The world is a better place because of amazing nurses :)