Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On the shoulders of giants, we can do great things

It is only fitting that I start my next journey during Nurses Week. That on Florence Nightingale's birthday I was in class discussing using research and data to transform nursing practice. That this week that honors and celebrates the amazing work all nurses do, I was stepping out of my comfort zone, going from 'expert' back to a novice of sorts. While many were graduating programs and starting their journey as new clinicians or administrators or educators, I am purchasing books and software and attending immersion week.

Since making the decision to begin this journey I have come up with every reason why I should not pursue this path. I have rationalized every excuse. I have compared this experience with past ones; unfavorably of course. I have almost talked myself out of it...twice. Something I have wanted to do for years, I have almost quite before I have started. Because it will be hard? Because I will be busy (I'm already busy and used to piling on the work!) What is different this time? Is it fear of failure?

In my mind I know how I want to leave my mark on nursing - some of it I am already doing. Some is yet to come; that is part of the journey. This is the next step. I need more tools to accomplish my goals.

As I entered the classroom meeting my classmates for the next 18 months, I realized they were all questioning themselves also. They were also doubting their abilities and wondering "What am I doing here?" But as these past few days have unfolded, we have found out that we bring a variety of skills and experiences with us. We have amazing visions for nursing and what we believe advanced practice nurses can do to improve care for our patients and impact an ailing health care system that is still in need of repair to provide the necessary care for all.

It will be hard. At times we will be tired and frustrated. We will be inspired. We will change practice and do great things. And in December of 2016 we will be Doctors of Nursing Practice.

“How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” ~Florence Nightingale

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Yes, I'm a nurse! Celebrating Nurses Week

Its that time again! To celebrate nurses and all the amazing things we do! Yes, we do amazing things. I don't usually like to brag about it; in fact what we do, whether you are an LPN, RN, CNS, NP, and administrator or educator it is hard work. We have all been there at the bedside doing things no one else would or want to do. We have cried with patients and families. We have gone home and put our uniforms right into the trash. We have cried in the shower, swearing we could not possibly go back and do the job another day. But we do. Again and again.

I told my husband just yesterday that even when I come home after being screamed at by a desperate family member who is watching her mother with progressing Alzheimer's turn into someone she no longer knows, that I still love my job as a hospitalist. Even when I spend over an hour explaining there are no more options to a patient and her husband, that it is time for hospice and watch the hope fade from their eyes, yes, I still love my job.

I love being a dual-boarded APRN. I love teaching future nurses and APRNs this incredible profession. I love using my voice so that one day my state will be 'green' too!

Photo credits: AANP State Practice Acts and Administrative Rules

There are so many amazing things that nurses can do beyond the bedside: clinical education, quality, health policy, academia, informatics, professional organization, special interest groups, leadership, community health and volunteering - I could go on!

So this week, we take a moment and celebrate all that nurses do for patients, their families and each other. We reflect on where nursing has been and what lies ahead. Nurses are leading the way with inspiring nurses leaders like ANA President Pam Cipriano PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN who was recently selected among Top 25 Women in Healthcare and future and past AACN and AANP Presidents. We reflect back on history to influential nurses like Dorothea Dix who is attributed with creating the first mental health system and Mary Eliza Mahoney the first African-America nurse in the United States. And of course our beloved Florence Nightingale who became an advocate for the poor and infirmed, dedicated to improving the conditions for treating patients and used data to improve care. Our first nurse mentor that we still honor on her birthday.

Remember this week and every moment why we became nurses. Celebrate the good and amazing things we do. We have a lot of work to do but we are strong and compassionate professionals. And our patients deserve the best care we can provide to them.