imagesNursing is one of the most trusted professions and one of the largest groups of leaders among all the health care professions. The role of the professional nurse requires the nurse to wear many different “hats.” Not only is the nurse a clinician, but the nurse is also a patient advocate, an educator, a social worker, a scientist, a supporter, and a leader.
The strength of a nurse is exemplified by the ability to balance many various responsibilities. Outwardly, the most noticed attribute of the nurse is their caring. As the first clinical face that the patient sees when they arrive at the hospital, and the last face they see when they are discharged, the nurse is a key player in the patient’s outcome. When the patient has a subtle change in mentation or a slight drop in blood pressure, the nurse is the first person to notice and take action. Through the nurse’s attentiveness to these subtle changes and constant reassessment of the patient’s condition, the nursing role stands out compared to other professions due to the extra time and patience nurses dedicate to providing individualized and patient-centered care. In addition, the nurse collaborates and works with the interdisciplinary team to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the patient by providing holistic care that addresses the bio-behavioral and psychosocial aspects of the patient’s lives.
The beauty of the nursing profession is the nurse’s ability to relate and connect with patients during a stressful time in their lives by providing guidance and reassurance. As the liaison between science and caring, the nurse sees the patient as an individual with unique needs instead of as “just another patient.” Through conversations with the patient and their families at the hospital bedside, in the home, or in the community, the nurse develops a personal relationship with the patient and their families to ensure that their healing journey is a continuous process. This continuity of care is extremely important in preventing readmissions and complications, and the role of the nurse in this process is vital. Providing education on medications, describing treatment plans, and generally explaining all facets of the plans after discharge are all examples of the nurse’s role. They are all performed in an effort to improve the health and wellbeing of patients, families, and communities.
Nurses are incredibly valuable for their ability to excel in the various roles expected of them on a daily basis. However, no matter the task or situation, at the heart of the nurse is a patient. As the great poet Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The true art of a nurse requires attending to Angelou’s wisdom while meeting the goals of clinical care for each and every unique patient.
Julie H., RN, CCRN