In celebration of National Nurses Week, we wanted to share with you what some of your fellow nurses love about the chosen field.
On a daily basis, nurses do so much for so many. Whether they’re helping patients, comforting families, teaching students, or working with hospital administrators, their days are often packed.
No matter where you work or what type of nursing work you do, it all contributes to make a difference. Thank you for everything! If you want to personally thank a nurse who made a difference in your life, join in on Twitter with the hashtag: #ThankANurse.
“I am a Family Nurse Practitioner of 16 years, and was an RN prior to that. My joy is caring for my patients, and the trust that develops with that relationship. They fulfill me, and I help provide them with the care they deserve.”
—Kathrine Hardy, FNP, RN, Primary Care Associates, Anchorage, Alaska
“I love being a nurse for many reasons—mostly because it has brought me into the lives of people whom I wouldn’t have met if I weren’t a nurse. Some of the most interesting people I have ever met came into my life because I’m a nurse.”
—Lana Miller Davidson, RN, Public Health Nurse, Baltimore County Health Department, Baltimore, Maryland
“There is a tangible satisfaction in helping others achieve goals, whether it be in health promotion or nursing education. Having an influence on patients, students, and the community is the greatest reward in nursing.”
—Lori Wilt, PhD, RN, NJ-CSN, NCSN, CNE, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Undergraduate Department, Seton Hall University College of Nursing, South Orange, New Jersey
“My passion for nursing stems from being influenced by two incredible historical leaders— Clara Barton and Mother Theresa. Neither are traditional nurses by occupation, but both spent their lives serving people in times of hardship, loss, and devastation. Their example has inspired me to love nursing by making a difference in the lives of others. The early foundation of Clara Barton’s vision and the compassion and selfless service of Mother Theresa have been constant reminders throughout my nursing career of what really matters. Despite the challenges, it is a calling and a love unending.”
—Pam Colvin, MSN, RN, CEN, Nurse Manager, Legacy ER & Urgent Care, Coppell, Texas
“I like nursing because it’s a profession that never stops giving. You learn new things every day, and the opportunity for growth is almost unlimited. I feel so good inside when I see improvement in my patients and also when giving emotional support by holding hands of family members who have just experienced tragedy. Actually, it gives me inner peace that I was able to help somebody.
My mom told me every time you have patients and family members and they feel better, count that as a blessing. I’m still counting my blessings every day, and–guess what?—I’m getting paid for that. I thank God every day for this opportunity I have been given.”
—Veena Baksh, BSN, CCRN, Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York
“For me nursing is the most rewarding, diverse, and flexible career. There are numerous opportunities to expand your career in a wide variety of venues. I choose critical care nursing for most of my career. As a critical care nurse I worked very closely with all members of the health care team to provide my clients and their significant others with excellent evidence-based nursing care. I was able to coordinate all care provided by the entire health care team. Relationships were fostered with clients and their significant others, and I enjoyed the opportunity to support them in times of joy, as well as times of sadness.
After working as a critical care nurse, I changed my focus and became a Nurse Educator. I now enjoy a career as a professor of nursing in a baccalaureate nursing program. I continue to use my nursing skills as a teacher; however, my focus is now on helping to shape the future of the nursing profession.”
—Lisa Sparacino, PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor of Nursing, NYIT School of Health Professions, Old Westbury, New York
“The reason I love being a nurse is because it is so rewarding to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s beautiful when you look into a patient’s eyes and see the window to their soul–when just a caring touch or word can make a connection. I love being able to establish a relationship based on trust that lets me guide my patients to better health.”
—Alicia Schwartz, MSN-ED, PCC, RN CCM, Registered Nurse and Care Coordinator for VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans, New York, New York
“All of the hard work that nurses put forth on a daily basis is all made completely worthwhile when you see a patient who once needed constant care regain their independence. I love my job as an in-home care nurse specifically because it encourages me to keep my skills sharp and think outside the box to handle the situation at hand. It’s just you and the client in the room and there is no one there to serve as a resource. Above all, I am passionate about improving the quality of life for all of my clients and that is a constant validator that I am in the right profession. It’s not a career to me, it’s a calling.”
—Vashti Johnson, RN, BSN, Director of Nursing for BrightStar Care, Cary, North Carolina
“I am passionate about healthy living, education, and caring for others, but improving the lives of patients is at the core of why I became a nurse. I specialize in caring for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic disease with unpredictable symptoms, which can have both a physical and emotional burden. For me, caring for someone means addressing these emotional as well as physical symptoms.
Through my work, I am able to connect directly to people living with MS and their care partners, learning about their specific cases, and offering support and tools needed to manage their disease. The opportunity to work so closely with people living with MS allows me to build connections and get to know patients on a personal level—these are the experiences that remind me of the reasons why I love being a nurse.”
—Denise Chicoine, RN, MS, MSCN, Telehealth Nurse Educator, MS One to One, a patient support program by Sanofi Genzyme
“I love nursing because it allows me to get close to people unlike any other profession. During a trying time in my life, I had a wonderful experience with a nurse that inspired me to change my profession and go into nursing. Each and every time I have a special moment with one of my patients, I’m able to reflect on the moments I had with my late husband.”
—Lillian Costa, RN, Progressive Care Unit, Englewood Community Hospital, Englewood, Florida
“One of the things I find most rewarding about being a home care nurse is when I pass someone on the street, or see them out and about after I’ve cared for them. Sometimes they don’t even see me, but I can see how well they’re doing and how well they’ve recovered from an illness or surgery.
I’ve lived and worked as a nurse in the same community for about 20 years now, so I often see the people I care for as they recover. It’s great when someone pulls me over on the street to tell me how they’re doing, even when it’s been a while since I’ve seen them. It’s that ‘Hey John, I’m cancer free!’ that really makes my day and helps me know that what we do as home care nurses really does make a difference.”
—John Ramos, RN, Home Care Nurse, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, New York, New York
“I love nursing because when you pull the curtain, it’s just you and your patient. It transcends time and history, and I feel the same caring and love as Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and the millions of others who have the calling to serve as nurses.”
—Linda D’Antonio, MSN, RN, Senior Faculty Associate, Undergraduate Department, Seton Hall University College of Nursing, South Orange, New Jersey
“I love being a nurse because I love educating patients and families on how to take care of themselves.”
—Terry Esposito, BSN, RN, CMSRN, Unit Educator Navigator, Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, New Jersey
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Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.
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2008 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: In 750 words or less, how did "A Nurse I Am"Â change or enhance your perception of nursing as a career? Using one of the nurses on the film as a role model, explain why someone should pursue nursing as a career.
University of Pennsylvania
I am now in my junior year of Nursing school at Penn. I am the Vice President of the Minorities in Nursing Organization at Penn and am applying for membership to Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing. I have survived Med-Surg and am now onto my obstetrics and pediatric clinical rotations. I am in the midst of looking for nursing externships for the coming summer, which has not proven to be easy. Because of the current recession, it seems that several hospitals have not been able to support their nursing externship programs. Therefore, it is extra competitive to get a spot this year. However, fortunately, I have a couple interviews lined up. To prepare, I have made appointments at Career Services on campus to go through mock interviews with a career counselor. The career counselor has been truly helpful and I feel much more prepared for my interviews, even though I am usually a nervous wreck for them.
On campus, I am now working as a Research Assistant in the School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. It involves a lot of reading, critiquing, coding, and literature searches. I have learned a lot of valuable knowledge regarding the components of nursing research.
This summer, I was fortunate to become involved with the Office of Minority Health, HHS on their A Healthy Baby Begins With You campaign to bridge the racial gap in infant mortality. I was certified as a Preconception Health Peer Educator and returned to campus to hold training sessions in order to certify my peers as Preconception Peer Educators as well. We are now in the process of holding a health fair to reach the West Philadelphia community and disperse important preconception health messages. I look forward to a nursing externship, if I am lucky enough to get a spot, so that when it comes time to apply for RN positions after graduation, I can return to the hospital where I worked the summer before.
A question that I have been struggling with for quite some time is, “What exactly is a nurse?” I have been a nursing student for almost 2 years now and with all the preconceived notions of bedpans, impacted bowels, and burnout, quite frankly, sometimes I am both scared and unsure of what I may have gotten myself into. But there seems to be something that keeps me holding on, something that tells me that there’s more to it than what everyone else sees nursing to be, a key ingredient to the essence of nursing that everyone seems to forget. I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what that is, but this 62-minute documentary has surely guided me in the right direction in my journey to finding the answer.
In my opinion, nurses aren’t angels. They don’t go hand in hand with hearts and rainbows. Nursing is about providing care, yes, but that does not entail that nurses’ only purpose is to be a compassionate hand to hold on to. Nursing integrates science and care. Nurses take the knowledge they have gained from their education as well as their experience and apply it each and every day, all while, being there to comfort patients in their times of need, whether what is needed is an IV, pain medication, or an ear that will listen. Like it said in the documentary, a nurse takes advantage of opportunities, faces daily challenges, and most importantly in my eyes, is a powerful advocate for the patient. Watching this video enlightened me to the most significant responsibilities of a nurse. I’ve realized that a nurse is the liaison between the doctor and the patient. They ensure that the patient fully understands what is happening to them in their most vulnerable states. Nurses are responsible for patient education and for making sure the patient understands what the doctor tells them. Ardis Bush said just a few words that really clarified what being a nurse is all about. She said that nurses treat the whole person, someone with feelings, someone who may cry – not just the diagnosis. In other words, doctors cure, but nurses heal. Ardis really helped me understand the difference between a doctor and a nurse. Nursing facilitates more meaningful patient interaction. I don’t want my patients to be just a statistic. I want to remember them and how strong they were emotionally when they weren’t strong physically. This video showed me that being a nurse will allow me to do just that.
Watching Ardis Bush in the documentary and reading about her accomplishments made me proud to be a nursing student because I now have the opportunity to be as innovative and compassionate as she is. Ardis is the epitome of a nurse who integrates science and caring into her daily life. She found a way to lower the rates of cardiopulmonary arrests on her unit as well as grant a dying man his last wish of being baptized. If anyone was to become a nurse, they should do so for the right reasons. Like Ardis said in the documentary, a nurse does not seek fame or fortune. However, what you do receive from nursing are intangible gifts, gifts that have no nominal worth. You receive the gift of knowing that at the end of the day, you will go home, and know that what you did all day at work truly mattered. Nursing will provide you with these invaluable gifts of life. Yes, you will be on your feet, battling a full bladder, enduring the consequences of rampant nursing shortage and dangerous staffing, but these things won’t seem to matter in the midst of it all because being a nurse will be eternally fulfilling.