As we celebrate National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and May being National Nurses Month, it’s a good time to talk about the expanding role nurses and nurse entrepreneurs and those in business have made today and will play in the future as health care evolves to meet the changing dynamics in this post pandemic world.
The nursing profession has become front and center over the past few years for not only being in the front lines and saving thousands of lives during the pandemic, but showing their passion and care by always stepping up and doing what was needed. They are often unsung heroes and it wasn’t always easy.
As one expert Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, FAAN states, “We have to stop looking at nurses as an expense and start looking at them as a solution…the solution to better outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, higher quality-lower cost healthcare, lower liability, wellness promotion, etc.”
So many realize that the role of the nurse is in keeping you healthy and well, helping you to heal when necessary, providing you comfort and care, supporting you and your loved ones at the end of life, and bringing new life into the world. In fact, it could be said that your very survival can depend on your nurse and their ability to care for you. But they do so much more.
The following summarizes just how nurses work for you and with you and become your partner with your healthcare needs:
1. While many people think of nurses as “assistants” to the physician, they are actually equal partners in health care, each with a separate and unique, yet vital, role. One is not an elevated version of the other.
2. Nurses are your primary caregivers while in the hospital, not your physician. It is the nurse that is coordinating, managing and delivering your care. They are also leading the care team on your hospital unit.
3. They are your 24-7 frontline caregivers. They are observing and evaluating your care and condition on a minute-to-minute basis, watching for any subtle changes in your condition, etc. They also initiate lifesaving measures as needed, make health and care decisions, and expertly minister to your needs.
4. They are your primary health-care advocate. Since nurses are overseeing and coordinating your care, they are often the first ones to notice an error, an omission or a discrepancy. Likewise, if there is something you are concerned or confused about, the RN in charge of your care can help you. They consult and confer with all care providers, make recommendations, and question other’s treatment plans when necessary. It is their goal to make you feel – and be – safe and cared for.
5. Many nurses are certified in their specialty, giving them additional expert knowledge and skill.
6. Nurses help you navigate your way through a complex and often confusing health-care system. This is particularly important if you receive a diagnosis of cancer or other serious illness.
7. It’s important to remember that nurses don’t just work in hospitals or with sick people. They are in the community, in nurse-led clinics, in the public health sector, in schools, in wellness centers, hospice, homecare, and in business and industry.
8. When you go to a hospital, you may have surgery, tests and procedures, but you are primarily there for nursing care. And if you want to know which hospitals/facilities have the best nursing care, just ask a nurse in the community. If you’re looking for the best physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists or nurse midwives, ask a nurse. Physicians don’t work with all of these primary care providers but nurses do, so they know who is tops and who’s not.
Nursing also offers great potential for those looking to go into a career with endless opportunities. They are the largest group of all healthcare providers both in North America and around the globe. In fact the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks Nurse Practitioners as the fastest growing profession through 2031. Additionally most schools of nursing have 2 and 3 year waiting lists to get in. Plus, the Gallup poll has consistently ranked nurses #1 for honesty and ethical standards for over 20 years.
So if you are thinking that nursing is right for you, here are a few tips to consider:
1. Join and get active in your nursing professional associations. This is how you create community in nursing and without community you may survive but you will never thrive.
2. Nursing may be your life’s work, but it is not your whole life. Spend equal time on your family, yourself, and outside interests for balance.
3. Never let anyone tell you what your nursing career should or shouldn’t be. Follow your heart. Carve out your own path in nursing. There is no one right way for all nurses to start their careers or to continue their careers.
4. Nursing is the most diverse profession on the planet. It will take you literally anywhere you want to go.
Celebrate nurses the week of May 6 to the 12th as we celebrate National Nurses Week and throughout May for National Nurses Month or to learn more on how to become a nurse. There has never been a better time to do so.
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) FAAN (Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing) of DonnaCardillo.com is best known as The Inspiration Nurse.