Teaching someone to drive is not easy. There are many things to be aware of all at the same time. There is danger involved and other people to consider. There is traffic and traffic signals and honking cars. Yet once you know how to drive, it’s easy. There are always new challenges, a drive you haven’t made before, an unfamiliar car, and other drivers, but our basic level of confidence stands up to it.
Nursing practice is the same. We have to stay vigilant to detours and unexpected conditions. And as we work side by side with nurses who have less experience, we should offer help and education in a way they can absorb.
If another nurse asks me a question that seems to have an obvious answer, I may wonder why the nurse doesn’t know. But communicating exasperation doesn’t create an atmosphere of learning. In fact, it does the opposite: creates a climate that devalues inquiry. For all of us in practice, it is essential to promote critical thinking, to contextualize the question, and to volunteer our professional experience. That’s why I always remember my story and tell it when someone asks, “Why didn’t he/she know that?”