This week is nurse’s week and it’s a great time to reflect on the value nurses bring not only to their jobs but to the entire community. I think I can speak for other nurses when I say that our work is never limited to just our jobs during a scheduled shift. When you’re a nurse, you are often the “go to” person for medical guidance sought by friends and family alike. You are trusted, respected and appreciated for your clinical expertise but sought after because you are often considered the most approachable member of the medical professions as well.
I learned the value of this last attribute (approachability) years ago when I was hired to launch a new call center. The name of the service was Ask-a-Nurse and in our first year of service (pre-internet) we managed 120,000 calls. I recall a number of physicians asking why the new service wasn’t called Ask a Doc. And the answer was that people are more apt to approach a nurse for health advice than anyone else in the medical community. Since 1999, Gallup has conducted studies about which profession is the most trusted. Nurses consistently come out on top which shows why a triage service would be placed in the trusted hands of nurses.
When people think of nurses, they often think of hospitals and clinics, but there are many other places where nurses are having a big impact. Home health, public health and school nurses are among these. A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to the Wisconsin School Nurses Association and it reminded me of just how valuable nurses are to the community. When I looked around the room, I realized that this relatively small group of nurses were serving hundreds of thousands of children throughout the state. With a new focus on population health management, this small but mighty clan has a huge impact on the lives of individuals, families and the community at large.
This week, as we celebrate nurses, remember that they are instrumental in the patient experience. They are committed to service both on and off the job and that they are an important part of our community’s health.