You know the job: cleaning up bodily fluids, working nights, weekends and holidays, dealing with people who are very challenging at times, lunch breaks interrupted by emergencies and above all the joy of undeniably knowing that your work is making a difference in the lives of those under your care.
If you said “nursing” you are correct. If you answered “mothering” you are also correct. Given the similarities between patient care and child care, it should come as no surprise that mothers are also competent in several of the same areas as professional nurses.
Here are seven nursing skills mothers have mastered even without going to nursing school.
The best nurses have a strong sense of empathy with their patients; they are able to place themselves in the patient’s situation and treat the patient in the manner that they would like to be treated. In the same way, a mother’s heart hurts when her child hurts or rejoices when they succeed.
The genuine care that a mother has for her child will enable her to willingly take on any challenge or do any task to meet their needs. This is one of the most important skills a mother or a nurse can have, and though it can be learned, not even the best of nursing schools can teach it.
2) Maintaining Calm Under Pressure
Nursing requires close and prolonged contact with people who are ill, in pain and are at times very difficult to deal with. Mothering also requires that you care for your child no matter what physical, mental or emotional state they are in at any given moment. Even when they are perfectly healthy children are immature and do things that you may find irritating. Your child can benefit greatly from your calm and patient attitude in response to these situations. You can bring tranquility to a stressful time and model gracious behavior that your child can learn to replicate for themselves. Just as a good nurse’s composed demeanor can create peace for an anxious patient, your calm response to your child’s tantrum or sassy backtalk can help to stop a stressful moment from becoming a fiasco.
3) Bold Advocacy
A good nurse will not be easily discouraged when they believe their patient could benefit from a medication change or a new therapy. As a mother, you use this same skill of being a fearless advocate when you see that your child has a need or a problem in any area of life. Being bold enough to seek out a second opinion if you simply aren’t satisfied with the medical care your child is receiving or researching and trying multiple ways to help them understand their math homework both show a dedication to see your child succeed even at the cost of your time and effort. A nurse understands how important it is to advocate for a patient who is unable to do it for themselves, and mothers share that same conviction.
4) Pushing Past Exhaustion
The profession of nursing is well known to involve long hours and hard physical, mental and emotional work. Mothers face a similar situation, with no days off and being on call every moment. There is a reason why a cup of coffee is often a nurse’s and a mother’s constant companion. Being up all night with a teething infant, comforting a child who is scared of the dark or listening to a teenager who needs to talk can all cut into your resting hours, but investing the time and effort in your child when they need you can pay large dividends. Nurses and mothers have both learned that while their work demands much from them, being tired is no excuse to put forth a lesser effort.
5) Assessing Situations
A nurse’s training enables them to notice in the course of a brief exam those certain behaviors or abnormalities that might signal a deeper problem. As a mother, you typically know your child better than anyone else and are usually the first to notice a change in them. Even if it’s nothing more than a shadowy “feeling”, you have honed an instinct to be able to tell when something just isn’t right and needs further attention. Your skill of assessment also helps you decide what steps to take next. If your child has a mild fever, you remove extra layers of clothing and apply a cool rag; if they have a high fever, you call the doctor and give medication. A good nurse will notice problems and respond appropriately, a mother will do the same.
6) Keeping Accurate Records
Nurses are required to keep detailed records of patient information and progress in a paper or computerized chart. Even though you probably don’t formally chart all that goes on with your child, it’s likely that you instinctively keep a mental record of events. You remember that your child broke out in hives after eating a certain food, or how they have a tendency to procrastinate doing the chores they dislike. Just like a nurse’s records can help identify trends, prevent or address problems and lead to positive outcomes, keeping mental records of your child can help you remember not to serve that particular food again or cause you to brainstorm ways of encouraging their work ethic and character development.
To provide good patient care, a nurse must be organized in managing multiple medication schedules, prioritizing tasks and keeping track of patient progress details to ensure effective communication. Your organization skills as a mother have great bearing on various areas of child care. Medical or dental appointments, teacher meetings, after-school activity schedules, housework and meal preparation are just some of the facets of your and your child’s life that require time and attention to manage. A nurse’s organization can translate to proper patient care and a smoother shift, and a mother’s organizational skills can help ensure important tasks are done and promote a more peaceful household.
Some aspects of your job as a mother bear a striking resemblance to those of a nurse. Though perhaps it began the other way around: Good nurses had skills that mirrored good mothering. However, as a mother you have something extra that a nurse never will. While a nurse may occasionally develop a deep bond with a patient, you have a love for your precious little charge that reaches to every fiber of your being. That mother’s love causes you to strive for your child’s best interests and inspires you to master the necessary skills to give them the best care possible.