I’ve tried to reel myself in on the best of what I know that would be helpful to nurses today. I struggle with this because of my contorted view of nursing. I am grateful and proud to have been trained and to have enjoyed a paid career as a nurse,in my case a registered nurse. I am keenly aware of a clear hierarchy within and outside of the nursing profession. Within our ranks in the U.S. we have licensed practical nurses, two year or associate degree nurses, diploma grads, four year or baccalaureate degrees, advanced degrees of which Masters(MSN or other types of masters in Healthcare or business) and/or advanced practice, nurse practitioners NPs)are common place. Doctorate level degrees are in demand often for top administrative and teaching roles. Within the ranks are many messages that are meant to elevate the profession but often with the reminder, you are not enough unless……
Outside, but just a curtain away, the focus on “nursing” really is a source of distaste for some allied health professionals and other health staff. Think of all the front line people dealing directly with patients and their families. They are called non-patient or support staff, (in government currently referred to as non-essential). I can attest to being labelled as NON even in an award is insulting.(But that’s entirely another story)
The first nurse that left an indelible mark on me was my mother. Though not a paid professional, she knew our bodies, personalities and developmental achievements. She instinctively recognized emergency from urgency or what to watch and monitor. She paid attention to location, size, texture. She was smart and action oriented. She admired and loved cousin Kathy, a nurse and recognized nursing as an honorable profession that was always needed and provided the flexibility of having a family. She was the strongest influence in my going into the field.
What was once the simplicity of patient-nurse and doctor when needed or available has grown to include other caregivers like social workers, spiritual care, dieticians, rehabilitation and respiratory therapists, radiology and lab technicians, navigators and advocates. We have multidisciplinary teams with nurses and other health professionals too.’Lift Team’, CPR team, IV teams, for example. So Nurses can get on the last nerve, the true Nth degree for many.
My heart tells me that Nursing is inclusive and not totally unique. It is a skill set, a knowledge base of science and evidence most certainly. It is a vocation calling those with willingness and ability to care for others. In spite of or in addition to the brilliance that technology now provides I believe that Nursing as an ART must be recognized, nurtured, celebrated and shared.