The theory regarding self-awareness tells us that the first step in every problem, is admitting you have a problem. Therefore, according to Bolak, B. (2016), in order for the individuals to understand own behavior is by paying attention to their thoughts and feelings that could be the reason why they behave in a certain ways. Moreover, Jack and Smith (2007) demonstrates that self-awareness involves an individual’s characteristic regarding their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
As result, it helps people to identify their strengths and weaknesses which impacts positively by allowing a chance of improvement in the areas where the person feels the need to be improved Croston and Jack (2016). Thus, an understanding of who we are as individuals could help a person feel empowered to make changes and improve their skills. Additionally, regarding the emotional intelligence, it is clear that if one can be aware of their own emotions, self-awareness can be restored and will benefit Individuals to be able to gain self-confidence when dealing with others (Billington, T. 2013). Also, Sego (2018) highlights that mindfulness is a key aspect to bring awareness of people’s emotions and help them understand their feelings in the moment.
Mindfulness can be defined as a way to focus attention in a non-judgmental way on any experience occurring in the present moment (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). The study indicates that mindfulness based intervention is powerful because it gives an opportunity for the individuals to accomplish self-care actions most useful to them. As student nurses we are advised to practice mindfulness in order to be able to establish the dynamics of nurse-patient relationship in relation to self-care as it is a key concept to improving the well-being of the individuals by tailoring it uniquely to meet the needs of each service users and their perspectives Ref. As a results, mindfulness is another valuable way of coping mechanisms leading to a healthy mental health of health care professional and nursing students as it helps decreasing stress and anxiety and promote an increase awareness of the present moment rather than concentrating on the past and future (Koren, M. E.2017).
Moreover, Kelly & Tyson (2016) demonstrate that mindful attention is about engaging with the present moment with the service user and it helps nurses not to disengage while engaged with the service users. In addition, Jennings and Apsche (2014), state that radical acceptance establishes the aspect of mindful awareness to the individuals by helping them to be fully aware of their immediate present experience and accepting themselves as they are in the moment without judgement. Mark L.Tapper (2016) refers to radical acceptance as a means considering yourself and the situation and observing it as it is without any judgement or alteration. However, in nursing perspective Radical acceptance does not involve endorsing a patient’s viewpoint but it simply means meeting patients where they are, not where you imagine them to be. Radical acceptance means understanding we are all doing the best we can.
This self- reflection is going to focus on how I have developed personally in terms of understanding the importance of self-awareness within the therapeutic relationship during a two days retreat I attended. My duration at the retreat had helped me developed positively as a person. The self-practice and giving and receiving feedback exercises are the main key concepts that played a magnificent role to make me more self-aware.
The study shows that self-awareness is a continuous process whereby an individual is conscious of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes (Pieterse et al 2013). During self-practice activity and giving and receiving feedback exercises I have found those moments challenging and stressful because of having to present self-descriptive to the group and also having to write a feedback and giving it to the other people who were beside me. More importantly my aim was to give an honest and respectful feedback. Foster et al (2006) suggest that treating others with respect and building trust is valuable to nurse-patient relationship in mental health nursing practice as our responsibility is to help service users develop a positive sense about themselves through therapeutic relationship.
Therefore, the two exercises got me to engage in thinking critically and be conscious about what to write up about the other two people. According to Chen et al (2017), it is clear that in mental health nursing thinking critically is a necessity for safe and profound clinical practice because it involves critical thinking skills such interpreting information or analysing it appropriately. It was then that I became curious and anxious about how other people would think of my attitudes and behaviours and how it could have impacted on others. That was vital for me because I reflected on how the service users must be feeling to share their deeper feelings especially while they are in a state of mental health issues. Johns (2009) demonstrates that reflections is to think, meditate on ponder and it is an effective strategy that help healthcare professionals to understand that it is through their experiences they could be self-aware. Jack & Miller (2008) argues that self-awareness is the key aspect because when an individual person becomes self-aware, it helps them understand self and gain the ability to know their own strength, limitations and emotions in order not impact on the therapeutic relationships when working with people experiencing mental health issues. Therefore, I became aware that developing good communication skills is important to encourage therapeutic relationship in relation to nurse-patient relationship. I also realise how essential good communication skills are for the nurses to be able to deliver quality care for patients and to enable nurses to understand the service users’ difficulties. Dowd (2018) demonstrates that communication is a crucial aspect of nursing practice because it is an interaction on an individual’s level. It may also help improve the patient’s overall sense of well‐being and satisfaction that they are in a safe place where they un-judged (Doherty and Thompson 2014).
Therefore, the activity was fulfilling as it helped me realise how important it is to think about other people around me items of my attitudes and behaviours. Through those two activities I have learned that I need to work on my communication skills, and be more self-aware and always be mindful of my own behaviour around other people. The feedback I received from my classmates was important to me. I reflected on it and found the positive meaning from it that would help me make a way forward to become a nurse that would be mindful of promoting therapeutic relationship with the service user. Paterson & Chapman (2013) suggested that reflection is an important part of learning from experiences. According to Meller et al. (2017), reflection helps nurses to make sense out of an experience, and it leads to an improvement in practice.
As a results it had helped me to acknowledge my own strengths and weaknesses.
According to Lambertz & Blight, (2016), assertiveness is vital in mental health nursing as it is the ability of an individual to express their opinions truthful and openly about others, however, he indicated that while the nurse is expressing emotions and thoughts, it is our responsibility as nurses to still show empathy and the ability to respect the individuals to allow more open communications.
Reflective practice can enable professionals to use an experience to learn about themselves, their work, the relationship between the personal and the professional, and the wider society and culture (Bolton, 2014). Therefore, self-care strategy is essential when taking care of others in order to provide a good quality care. According to Chow & Kalischuk (2008), nurses who apply self-care are mostly prepared to deliver high quality care to the service user. Additionally, Watson (1997) emphasises that it is essential that nurses care for themselves to be able to care for the patients. Research also demonstrates that factors that can impact positively on a person’s health such as getting an adequate sleep, maintaining good physical health and relationships are important and contribute towards helping others to gain confidence in their ability to cope well in other situations (Bhingardive and Sivabalan 2017).
This experience has helped me learn that reflections play a significant role to encourage me to examine and explore my behaviours, thoughts, feelings and the attitudes that I was never aware off before I became a student nurse. As a result from that, I can now identify my own learning needs and make some judgements in areas where I need to develop more and set up some achievable goal to help me succeed in my nursing carer. I have learnt how vital it is adapting to good communication skills and learning from the senior nurses through observing as they care for the service users and meeting their healthcare needs. My plan is to value the concept of self-awareness and apply it into my daily living and in my nursing carer to become more professional in my nursing career. Also being mindful of radical acceptance in order to acknowledge reality that being self-critical about myself.
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