Like a good mystery? Love to see a detective put together clues to solve a crime? You may not realize it, but being a nurse is like being a detective. I compared what you need to be a detective with what you need to be a nurse and found these eight ways the two careers are similar:
1. Both must be knowledgeable
Detectives know their territory. They figure out how to get around, what type of soil is found where and when it rained. They can look at a person’s shoes or car tires and know where he has been.
Nurses’ territory is their patient. They must find out: Why is he here? What signs and symptoms do I need to watch for to prevent complications from his illness? What goals must he and I meet for him to get better?
2. Both need to cultivate an eye for detail
Detectives observe their surroundings carefully, even when they think there is nothing special to observe, because they never know what might end up being important to solve their case. Nurses observe even the littlest thing about a patient because they know every bit of information may make a difference in that patient’s care or recovery.
3. Both must learn to read people’s faces.
Detectives and Nurses watch body language and notice whether it seems natural and agrees with their words. Criminals might be lying to avoid incrimination. Patients might be hiding the truth because of embarrassment, lack of understanding or cultural beliefs. A patient may say he’s not in pain, but have facial grimacing.
4. Both get good at searching for information.
Detectives and nurses must know what they don’t know and know where to find it. Detectives go to the public record. Nurses go to the patient’s chart.
5. Both skillfully ask questions.
Detectives and Nurses get to the heart of a matter without putting somebody on their guard or making them unnecessarily uncomfortable.
6. Both document well
Detectives keep careful notes of what they find. Nurses know if they didn’t document what they did, as far as the world is concerned, they did not do it.
7. Both become techno-savvy
Detectives and Nurses know how to use a computer and find information via the internet.
8. Both value their team
Detectives and Nurses have trustworthy teams to back them up and help get the job done. Colleagues are important to solve the crime and give high quality care to patients. Neither profession can do it alone!
Both Nurses and Detectives must possess good observational and critical thinking skills to gather evidence, sort through facts and examine details to come to conclusions. Detectives solve crimes to get criminals off the streets. Nurses solve problems to prevent illness and to assist people recover from illness. So if you are a LPN or RN, feel free to start calling yourself a Nurse Detective.