"Just A Nurse": How Nurses are Changing the World
As first published on Everyday Divinity, blog:https://www.linkedin.com/company/everyday-divinity/
Nursing is a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backwards. – Florence Nightingale
Year after year, nursing is highlighted as the most trusted profession. Our patients and communities are feeling better not just because of what we do at the bedside, but because of all the work we do behind the scenes. Patients now encounter nurses more than just when they go to a doctor’s appointment or have a surgery. Nurses today have more opportunities than ever before to serve their communities, practice to the top of their licensure, and to help more patients.
Because of advances in medical technology and nurse innovation, nurses are increasingly seeking roles outside of the bedside. Bedside nursing is and always will be an admirable job, one that touches patients at every step of the lifespan. Bedside nurses are there to enter little ones into the world and to hold the hands of those who are leaving it.
While those are special roles that many nurses were born to obtain, today we are seeing more nurses employed in technology, the legal system, education, administration and even holding government offices. In 2015 we watched as nurse Kelley Johnson took the media by storm in a Miss America pageant. The Nurses on Boards campaign is wildly successful and aims to have 10,000 nurses serving on boards by 2020. (As of the date this was written, there are 6317 nurses serving on boards!) Nurses are working as entrepreneurs, advancing the healthcare profession and the field of nursing in new ways Florence could have never dreamed of. We have come a long way from white dresses and caps. No longer can the word ‘nurse’ be simplified to bed-pans and medication administration.
By nurses working in a variety of roles, they can serve more patients in a multitude of ways. Whether it is from an office working on insurance claims or working at the bedside in a trauma center, the nurse is providing specialized care that can impact the patient for the rest of their life. Regardless of the setting or the job title, the goal is always the same: improving and expanding high-quality patient care.
Unfortunately, there are a multitude of barriers influencing the nurse’s ability to provide this care at the bedside. Unsafe staffing and nurse-patient ratios continue to be a major concern. Workplace violence is also on the rise, leaving bedside nurses on the dangerous front-lines.
But, like Florence, nurses are not known for making excuses. Because of these serious and dangerous issues, nurses are finding creative and innovative ways to fight back. Nurses have realized they can influence patients and their care on a grander scale. Nurses are now experts in health policy and working to improve hospital conditions and patient care through legislation. They are pioneers in research and evidence-based practice in order to advance the science of nursing. Nurses are identifying problems and creating solutions. They are not accepting the status quo, and they are not willing to accept anything less than the highest quality, and safest, care for their colleagues and their patients.
Nurses are stepping up and leaning in. Nurses are finding their voices and fighting for a seat at the table.
Gone are the days of hearing, “I’m just a nurse.”
Stay Tuned for More in the “Just A Nurse” Series!
Coming Up: Nurses in Technology, Nurses as Entrepreneurs, Nurses in the Legal System, Nurses in Professional Development