This article was interesting and provided for a me a perspective or position that some over here might want to add thier own viewpoints too. So I thought I would place it up here.I plan on responding to this writer myself and suggest that those willing do the same.
A Nurse's Viewpoint
Questions and answers about nursing
By Roberta B. Abrams, RNC, MA, LCCE, for HealthLeaders.com, June 11, 2001
It started, as such things often do, with a question: "Why are you a nurse?" I don't remember the answer I gave. Considering that the question came from a child, I probably gave one appropriate to her age. Since then, I've been giving some thought to the topic - that I'm going to share with you - from A Nurse's Viewpoint.
My reasons for becoming a nurse and my reasons for staying in nursing were not the same. I became a nurse - all those many years ago - because I considered what I believed to be the alternatives, and nursing was the only one that appealed to me. I knew several nurses - including my mother - and, for the most part, their discussions about their field seemed interesting. (Of course, there was Hilda, who considered herself as the physician's "handmaiden." I knew that I wasn't going there.)
I was fortunate in my choice of schools of nursing. The program was long and difficult, both physically and intellectually. We spent five years earning that coveted degree in nursing - five calendar years. The faculty's aggregate mission was to foster in us the knowledge and values that would enable us to be thinking, caring professionals. (It occurred to me that the hospital's mission was to find a source of free labor.)
The relationship between the nurses and the physicians was, generally, one of mutual respect and positive regard. (Of course, there were exceptions on both sides - this was the real world.) We even had collaborative rounds where several disciplines (including physicians) provided input into the patient care regimen.
It was a good beginning. There were mentors who I hope always to remember, and there were those who I'd love to forget but can't. Above all, there were my classmates, most of whom have remained lifelong friends and, collectively, major support sources through my life.
I still believe that nursing was the right choice for my career. I reaffirm that feeling when I go to the supermarket and run into a patient who stops to tell me about the difference that I made in her childbirth experience. I reaffirm that feeling when, at holiday time, I receive a letter from a patient whose baby's birth I attended more than 25 years ago. She writes to share current events in her life, and to inquire about mine. The unspoken message is that she remembers - and values - the time we shared together.
Earlier this year, I received a letter from a former student. She is now a masters' prepared clinical specialist. She has long since realized the promise that she showed almost 30 years ago when, as a student, she helped a patient deal with cancer of the uterus. I hope that she still has the letter that the patient sent to me, and that I gave to her with an award at her graduation. I know that she hasn't forgotten, and neither have I.
I also heard from the alumni association of a school of nursing where I taught when my children were young. The writer invited me to be a guest at the reunion that they were planning. It's truly gratifying to realize that, through nursing, I have made a difference in the lives of many different people. I presume that chief among reasons for staying in nursing is just that - the ability to make a difference.
I am still, tangentially at least, an active nurse. I no longer make daily rounds on patient care units, nor do I carry a bag and make home visits. However, my colleagues continue to call requesting input on clinical or administrative matters. Others invite me to present at conferences or to do in-service education sessions on matters related to healthcare. Friends, neighbors, and family call me with questions related to their health and/or that of those close to them.
As a nurse, I have benefited greatly from the different career opportunities that were, and are, available to me within that broad expanse called nursing. My career in nursing has included episodes in clinical practice, in education, and in administration. While most of my experiences have been in acute care hospitals, I spent about five years learning the intricacies of home care.
The vistas open to nurses are limited only by their imaginations. During my career, we have experienced an incredible growth of opportunities available to the advanced practice nurse. Nurse practitioners carry their own patient loads and are frequently found in clinical sites promoting wellness care and education. Nurse midwives are sought after by an ever-growing clientele who enjoy the attention, knowledge, and comfort that they provide. Nurse anesthetists are found in offices, in outpatient surgery centers, and in hospitals. I stand amazed by the growth of nurse attorneys - who not only perform invaluable services as either plaintiff or defense team members, but serve also as risk managers, as guides in quality improvement activities, and in diverse roles on ethics teams.
Nurses are also found in industry, in schools, in community care programs, and in specialized practices including palliative care, pain management, and wellness settings.
I like nurses. Nurses share a group of characteristics that makes them wonderful friends. Nurses care. We care about others. Why else would we go into such a demanding profession? We care about one another - most of the time, and we're getting better about it as the demands on the individual nurse increase. I don't believe that any of us could have completed the demanding course of study that was ours without the support and encouragement of our classmates. We are resourceful. Given two Kelly clamps and a role of tape, we can perform miracles.
Nurses are creative. We keep finding new and better ways to provide for those in our care. Nursing research has progressed from the laboratory to the patient care arena. Our researchers work with the clinical staff to study the outcomes of even our most basic interventions. Do we consistently produce the outcomes that we seek? How can we do it better?
These are hard times in healthcare - and especially in nursing. We deal on a daily basis with staffing issues, short supplies, sicker patients, the plethora of ills that have beset healthcare.
In that environment, it is all too easy to get lost in a morass of, "Oh, ain't it awful!" We need to regroup and refocus. We need to find leaders who understand that it's cost effective to improve salaries and working conditions so that the nurses and others who are not working, or working only part time will return. Recruiting travelers or nurses from other lands is, at best, a temporizing measure. We need to sponsor "refresher" courses to enable some of those who have not been in the acute care setting to return with confidence in their skills and knowledge. We need to so improve the healthcare environment - and those in it - that health professions, including nursing, are once again attractive to those still making choices in careers.
That's a tall order. We need real leaders in our healthcare environments. Nurses want reimbursement commensurate with their knowledge and abilities. They want a place at the table where decisions are made. And they want it now.
We need to refocus. We need to remember why we became nurses. We need to tell and retell our success stories. Who wants to join a group whose conversation is fixated on problems? We all have wonderful stories to tell.
I'd like those of you who read this column to share with me the stories of your successes. I'd like to share them with others. Let's talk about the power of nursing, about nurses and patients that we remember with joy. Maybe we can make of that a tapestry that we can display, say, and mean: "I'm glad that I'm a nurse. Come and join me."
(E-mail stories about your success as a nurse to RBAbrams@aol.com.)
Roberta B. Abrams, a regular columnist for HealthLeaders.com, uses her education and experience to help further the evolution of healthcare delivery systems through her consulting group, RBA Consults, in Farmington Hills, Mich. She also is on the adjunct nursing faculty at Madonna University.
Abrams' career has included a variety of positions in women's and children's health, including roles in nursing education (diploma, associate degree, and bachelor's degree programs), nursing service (as a clinical specialist), and nursing administration, as director and associate administrator for nursing in two major teaching hospitals. She has participated in the development of a women's health center, two school-based teen health clinics, and two women's and children's home care programs. Abrams is a member of the Wayne County Medical Society Task Forces on Violence Reduction, Teen Health and Adolescent Pregnancy. She also served on the Oakland County Health Department Task Force on Perinatal - Neonatal Care.
Abrams holds master of arts degree in administration/supervision from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., and a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Contact Roberta by e-mail at RBAbrams@aol.com.