The term psychomotor refers to coordination between one's cognition and physical movements. It is seen through body's movements which are performed with dexterity, coordination, grace, strength, speed and accuracy. Motor skills are developed at a very young age as we begin to pick things up, throw them, dodge them, put them back in place and so forth. Over the years, development of motor skills takes place through three stages, which are cognitive, associative and autonomic.
In the first one, while the learner is new to the skills, he needs to think before he acts, which makes the movements sloppy movements. At this stage he only tries to gain control. Toddlers are an example of this stage. As the learner gets to the associative stage, he knows the movements and spends less time thinking about them. Thus, he can act fast, but still needs to work on coordination. In the last stage, it is more about refining the skills with practice. Sadly, with age, as thinking power retards, the aged often become victims of psychomotor retardation or psychomotor impairment. Hence, it is imperative to learn psychomotor skills in nursing, to ensure the aged are well taken care of through nursing.
Learning Psychomotor Skills for Nursing
Knowing the vital signs is a prerequisite of nursing. These signs are physiological statistics, such as pulse rate, body temperature, blood pressure or respiratory rate, which determine functioning of the body. Learning about these signs is considered as a part of the training for psychomotor skills, as vital signs decide the basic function of the body. Recognizing an impairment with any of these signs can help in rectifying them immediately and bringing back the lost motor skills.
With loss of psychomotor skills, the patient cannot unknowingly begin to compromise on basic hygiene too. For instance, washing hands before eating, cleaning their surroundings, wearing clean clothes, disinfecting wounds if any and so forth, gets neglected. As a part of nursing, one needs to be attentive to these basic rules hygiene as well.
Old age reduces one's mental ability to think, which is the main cause of retarded motor skills. This is the prime reason why the aged fail to perform basic routine activities. Hence, nurses need to be adept with bathing the aged, looking after their foot care, eye care, ear and nose care, oral care and every other small thing which requires them to move. Ensuring their safety is of utmost importance while looking after them. Assisting patients to take their medicines on time, clearing trash from their bed area, making their beds, helping them exercise, teaching them a few safety measures and helping them cope with their disabilities is very much a part of a nurse's job description.
Psychomotor skills in nursing also includes helping the patient with taking injections. For instance, insulin dependent patients have to take injection on everyday basis, who may need help in doing so in case of retarding psychomotor skills. Post operative care, neonatal care and caring for patients with neurological defects who have lost out on basic motor skills, is considered to be a part of nursing as well.
These skills can be learned by observing other experienced nurses who have a first hand experience in providing help. Make slow but steady attempts at demonstrating these skills. Practicing them and studying them in greater detail will help you perform better. Once you are sure about the acquired skills in nursing, work on modifying the skill to suit the needs of your patients. Remember that there is no one size that fits all remedy, when it comes to treating the patient. You will have to change your ways and come up with ways to perform the task differently to get the best out of your efforts.