Role incongruity occurs when expectations are not aligned with the requirements of the learning curve to adapt to the new environment. This can be compared to the Nursing Process Theory developed by Ida Jean Orland. Although the theory is aimed towards patient interactions, its dimensions are applicable to the general nursing role. The latter includes the responsibility to use insight and intuition in examining others’ needs and behavior patterns in order to adapt appropriately in taking action. Interaction suggests that communication should be built on trust, and a nurse must not assume that actions are appropriate until the other individual has confirmed it to be so (Felicilda-Reynaldo & Smith, 2017).
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In my first days of nursing practice, I faced extreme stress and self-doubt. Although familiar with nursing concepts, I felt lost in the hectic environment of the hospital. Experienced nurses had specific methods and procedures, using nursing jargon, and could rapidly exchange information to keep track of their duties and rotations. My unfamiliarity felt cumbersome to the team as I could not follow along as well.
Although I did not face immediate hostility similar to the nurse from the case study, it was visible that experienced nurses were frustrated by the fact that everything must be explained to me. I sought to apply the Social Exchange Theory by finding ways that both I and others could benefit. For example, I offered to take on remedial tasks or examine any ongoing difficulties from a fresh perspective in exchange for other nurses being patient and sharing their experience in the specific inner workings of the department. It was a difficult transition, but this exchange helped me remain committed to the process.
Felicilda-Reynaldo, R. F., & Smith, L. (2017). Needs-based frameworks. In R. Utley, K. Henry, & L. Smith (Eds.), Frameworks for advanced nursing practice and research: Philosophies, theories, models, and taxonomies (pp. 159-172). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.