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6 Reasons Why Nurses Are No-Cape Heroes


Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education. Has 27 years experience.

Are nurses everyday heroes?

Nurses will brush off the idea that they are heroes.  In fact, many nurses go their entire career without being in the public eye or receiving an award.  But nurses routinely demonstrate on-the-job heroic qualities. This article is written to celebrate the everyday nurse hero.

6 Reasons Why Nurses Are No-Cape Heroes

The nursing profession is brimming with larger-than-life nurse heroes. The kind of nurse heroes who advocate and bring change to local, regional and even global communities. The kind of nurse heroes who bravely serve our country and who save lives during natural disasters. These nurse contributions certainly fit the definition of a hero; someone who gives of themselves, often putting their own lives at great risk for the greater good of others.

The majority of nurses don’t have careers that rise to the level of a “larger-than-life” nurse hero. Nurses may go their entire career and never receive an award, honor or other recognition of extreme bravery. However, it is the overlooked everyday hero that is the foundation of the nursing profession. This article is written in celebration of what makes nurses everyday heroes.


“A hero is someone who voluntarily walks into the unknown.” -Tom Hanks

Heroes Genuinely Care About Others

According to researchers, people with heroic tendencies have much higher levels of empathy. Nurses care for patients in pain and suffering and are able to “walk a mile” in the patient’s shoes. Often burdened with mental and physical fatigue, nurses are steadfast in compassionately providing comfort and ensuring patient safety. We bring kindness to patients when they are most vulnerable.

Nurses Take and Keep Control

In the chaos that often surrounds healthcare, nurses can bring things together, keep it together and make it happen. Heroes quickly anticipate and address problems while paying close attention to even the smallest details. Whether facing a life or death situation or troubleshooting the unexpected, nurses understand the importance of a clear mind and calm response.

Nurses Have Great Sense of Humor

Sure, Iron Man is funny and Wonder Woman makes me smile. However, nurses make great use of comedic laughter. Research has shown humor can boost the immune system and laughter improves cardiovascular health. Nurses take it one step further and use humor to deal with tremendous on-the-job stressors. What better to find creative solutions to complex problems than with a little comic relief? Also, the rewards that come with putting a smile on the face of someone who is scared and anxious is priceless.

Nurses Are Vigilant Protectors

Nurses are rigorous and assertive in providing safe care to patients. They also leap into action when patient safety is compromised. Here are just a few ways nurses protect patients in providing routine care:

  • Take ownership and action when something is wrong
  • Don’t give up until patient is protected or stabilized
  • Focus on the details of complex and changing clinical pictures
  • Listen to concerns of patients and caregivers
  • Carefully monitor patients before, during and after procedures
  • Meticulously administer medications and treatments

Nurses routinely go up “the chain of command” to safeguard those they care for.

Nurses Don’t Know They Are Heroes

As you read this article, you may be thinking , “I just really don’t think I am a hero”. The truth? Most nurses don’t. With humility, most nurses would simply say, “I am just doing my job”. But nurses care for others as they would their own loved ones and carry the strength needed to heal in demanding environments.

Nurses Handle the Gag-Worthy

Ok, so it is not actually the ability to handle what grosses other people out that makes nurses everyday heroes. It is how nurses gracefully deal with the disgusting. Always the protector, nurses use controlled responses to compassionately safeguard the dignity of others. Even everyday nurse heroes experience pangs of stomach queasiness with certain sights, sounds and odors. However, the nurse does not allow her discomfort to show and that is what makes them heroes.

Is it likely you were drawn to this profession because a nurse touched or inspired you at some point in your life?

Tell us about your everyday nurse hero.

J. Adderton MSN has over 20 years experience in clinical leadership, staff development, project management and nursing education.

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