We’re coming up on nurse’s week and it always reminds me to take the time to celebrate this great profession of ours. I don’t know of another profession that carries with it the kind of opportunities to form meaningful human bonds like nursing does. Nurses’ hands are often the first human hands to hold a newborn as he enters the world. Nurses are there for many of life’s greatest milestones, injuries, and illnesses. Nurses are there to sooth and comfort families and individuals facing grim diagnoses and unimaginable loss. We’re also there to celebrate the triumphs of healing – big and small. We’re also frequently the ones who are there, holding the hands of our hospice patients as they take their last breaths. It is our touch that ushers people into life and it is our touch that sooths and comforts people as they leave this life.
The stories of nursing champions abound. When I think about what it takes to become a nurse, I’m in awe of the level of commitment to education and lifelong learning. Nursing school and state boards are just the beginning. The advancement of technology and innovation in health care requires nurses to learn new things daily. But it takes more than education to be a great nurse. When I reflect on the brightest and the best nurses in the field, I like to borrow from the American classic the Wizard of Oz. Our journey toward excellence in nursing takes four critical elements. It takes brains to learn the science of medicine and to apply the information in order to make timely critical decisions. It takes heart to connect with people when they are scared, vulnerable and in need of compassion. It takes courage to be the strong patient advocate and stand up for our patients when they cannot do it for themselves. And last, but not least, it takes a strong desire or passion to want to make a difference in the lives of others.
For the nurses reading this- take the time to celebrate your contributions to the community and know that you make a difference. For those of you who are not nurses; reach out and thank a nurse. Without them health care delivery would be scarce, inefficient and far less compassionate. Happy nurse’s week.