The three core ingredients of learning are knowledge, skills and attitudes. For best performance in everything the three must be present in equal measure. There is debate as to which is more important than the other. Some even say you can prosper without one or two. All schools of thought have gone ahead to justify their ground. One thing they agree on is that they are all important. Nursing as any other discipline subscribes to the three ingredients in equal measure. There is not one of them that is less or better but all are important. It is important to see them as parts of the whole.
In nursing everyone will agree that skills and knowledge are important. Nursing is the art and science of caring and helping people with their health needs. Not all agree that the attitude is as important as the two. To understand this better, let define knowledge- this is learning facts and concepts. Skill is learning how to do something. Attitude is learning to form a new or different point of view. Attitude changes the mindset and gives the individual a new-look on humanity.
In nursing school, the training is majorly theoretical and practical. During the theory lessons the student nurse learns facts and concepts. These include; anatomy, medical surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, critical care nursing among others. Skills are acquired majorly in the skills lab or hospital settings. The student nurse puts into action the competence taught in class. With practice and guidance the student develop skills. Attitude on the other hand is taught in class, skills lab, hospital, corridors, office etc. It can be taught anywhere and everywhere. It may be structured or unstructured, its importance is immense. I tend to believe that is holds both the skills and knowledge together.
You have more often than not heard people complain about nurses’ attitudes. Or better still you may have complained about this too. Why do people say this? Maybe you went to a hospital and did not like how you were treated. The attitude here is not limited to personality but the overall view of the nurse. Ask yourself do you enjoy working as a nurse? Do you do it just for the money? Were you forced into the profession? There are many things that affect how a person views or performs their duty. The important aspect should be the caring attitude. I tell my students to treat each patient as if it were their family members.
Attitude training should begin in the first class of nursing school. The students should be taught of the profession’s ethics. What is expected of them at work the place. That it is an involving and emotional draining profession. This is important as it helps shape the mindset and view of the student. The hospital placements should help to prepare them for the job awaiting. This is trains the mind and body of what lies ahead. A clinical instructor or preceptor is important. They support the nurse during training and even during the first moments after training. Attitude training complements the knowledge and the skills obtained during training.
Emphasis should be put on attitude as much as it’s put on skills and knowledge. Knowledge and skills get the largest attention, however you have seen how attitude is important. The training institutions should increase the focus on attitude if they are to produce better nurses. Structured training is important as it allows for monitoring of progress. The attitude is important and with it, you get better nurses thus better outcomes of health.