I have spent the last four weeks visiting friends and family back home in Florida. Since here, I have accompanied my 76-year-old father from consultations to surgery to follow up appointments with a few unfortunate complications along the way. It has been emotionally taxing. Witnessing a parent, who has always been the fixer of the family, struggle to walk to the mailbox is hard to watch.
My father is a veteran, a Marine. He proudly guarded Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D Eisenhower during his service. He is a proud patriot, tough as nails. He was injured in the line of duty. As such, he is one of millions of veterans of the Armed Forces fortunate to have rightful access to the services of the Veterans Administration (VA). Some of my earliest memories are of visits to the VA with Dad. In light of the recent controversy and scrutiny the VA has faced, I decided there was no better way to say thank you than with a post.
A Shout Out to the Veterans Administration
I look forward to coming home and spending precious time with family. Life is short and in the end, these precious moments are all that matter. During a recent family dinner back home, the conversation turned to my niece-a bright college student who currently works as a pharmacy assistant. I asked her what her career goals were and she mentioned that she wants to be a neonatal nurse like her aunt (gush), but doesn’t know if she can handle the blood. My first reaction came as a moment of melting pride followed by an instant shift to nurse recruiter. Here is a bit of what I would say to her as well as anyone else considering this most noble profession. What exactly does it take to be a nurse??
What Does it Take to Be a Nurse?
If you have worked 12 hour shifts long enough, you begin to convince yourself that you really do not require more than a few hours of sleep to function. Perhaps your plan is to “catch up” on your days off. The fact is, a tired nurse can be a dangerous nurse. The American Nurse’s Association ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN states, “research shows that prolonged work hours can hinder a nurse’s performance and have negative impacts on patients’ safety.” “We’re concerned not only with greater likelihood for errors, diminished problem solving, slower reaction time and other performance deficits related to fatigue, but also with dangers posed to nurses’ own health.” The following are a few tips for the nurse insomniac….
5 Tips for the Nurse with Insomnia
Compassion fatigue, first described over twenty years ago in text by a nurse (Joinson, 1992) can be defined as the “loss of the ability to nurture.” It is considered a “cost of caring.” While the symptoms are similar to those of burnout, the cause and onset are different. Burn out is a result of job related dissatisfaction while compassion fatigue is more directly patient related. Burn out occurs gradually over time while compassion fatigue can be more acute in its onset. Could you be experiencing compassion fatigue?
Compassion Fatigue & Nursing
You have probably defended your role as a nurse in conversation with friends at least once in your career. For the lay person, the nursing role may still be unclear. The image of a subservient woman with a clip board chasing a doctor every step of the way may come to mind. This image is long outdated. Nurses have had to fight for years for their rightful place in the medical team and be seen as the rightful and equal to the doctor. The same goes for the nursing assistant or CNA. He or she deserves equal respect and equal voice as they are just as vital as any other member of the patient’s team. The following are just a few reasons why a nursing assistant is so vital to the team….
Honoring the CNA
After working many years in nursing, one learns to temper emotions. Perhaps it is a self defense mechanism. Perhaps it something we learn like any other part of our practice. A nurse can experience a wide range of emotions in one single shift. The important thing is learning how to temper these emotions to get through said shift without becoming completely apathetic…
Observations of an Emotional Nurse
Compassion is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” Compassion is synonymous with our work in healthcare. Our job is to care for our patients with the hope to relieve some suffering. The following are just a few ways to be a more compassionate nurse….
4 Ways to Be a More Compassionate Nurse
Hi everyone! I am super excited to share another piece featured in American Nurse Today. American Nurse Today is the official journal for the American Nurses Association. They are the largest nursing union in the U.S. that continually fight for nurses’ rights and patient safety. This piece is close to my heart. It should be the right of every human being to have reasonable access to healthcare. Thank you to my sweet sister and Aunt Donna for being the inspiration behind this. And thank you Sweden for caring for it’s residents. Heja Sverige!!
A Nurse’s Plea to the People
In honor of National Nurses Week, what better way to celebrate than to honor what defines a nurse? Florence Nightingale described nursing as “no man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this – ‘devoted and obedient.’ This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.”
While the struggle is still real, nurses have since earned their rightful place among medical professionals. Fast forward to modern nursing where the American Nursing Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.
Through the years, the definition of a nurse has evolved, but there are a few key characteristics that remain constant…..
The Definition of a Nurse
We are nurses. We witness joy and sorrow and amid what is all in a day’s work, we thrive in the service of others. It fulfills us. Nursing teaches us how to be better human beings. In a world where selflessness has become a sign of weakness, it is now more than ever that we need to step up and model the art of compassion.
Thriving in the Service of Others