Everyday nurses deal with sickness, and health as well as life and death. They deal with understaffing, tons of paper work, and mandatory overtime, yet they remain at the bedside to care for their patients through even the roughest of recoveries. They are also there to support the family when a loved one is unable to recover.
It would be a very difficult task for anyone to spend 8 to 12 hours for several days caring for a patient without becoming emotionally affected. If there was one word that defined or described a nurse, I would use It now; but the only word we have is N-U-R-S-E. Understanding the complexity or dynamics of this five-letter word is difficult to say the least. Nurses are far more than just someone who passes pills, gives shots or applies a band-aid. Nurses can be a shoulder to cry on or one you can rely on. Nurses grieve with the family of a deceased loved one. They cry when there is no one else to cry. They smile, laugh, teach, listen, pray, and touch. Above all they care!
People do not think about nurses or nursing in their day-to-day living, but when they need a nurse at the bedside they expect a nurse to be there. And guess what, they are there, but for how long will we be able to say this with certainty. Nurses are leaving the bedside for other areas of practice that provide an environment more conducive to the practice of professional nursing. Keeping the nurse at the bedside is going to become more and more difficult because the next generation has far more opportunities in areas with less complicated issues and with incomes reflective of education, commitment and dedication.
Nursing is an amazingly unique profession. It is a profession where there is continuous growth and acquisition of knowledge. Healthcare is on the cutting edge and advance practice nurses are going to be needed more than ever, even at the bedside. With all the new technology, nurses are going to need advanced knowledge as well as a passion for the profession.
Each of you need to ask yourself “How important is the nursing profession? How important is it going to be to in the next 10 to 15 years?” As we all know healthcare will suffer drastically without nurses at the bedside. There are ways that we can assure that this tragedy does not happen in our lifetime. Supporting your organization, by joining the Kentucky Nurses Association. For the price of a large pizza, each month, you can make the best investment in your profession by joining KNA. Being aware of the political candidates and their position on issues that affect healthcare and nursing is critical. Being involved means investing your time, energy, passion and your financial support.
This will be an exciting time for the next generation of nurses and all of the nursing profession needs to help pave the way. With the support of all nurses we can address the complicated issues that affect our practice today, and encourage the next generation to be part of a life long rewarding career, that of a Registered Nurse. Only then will we be able to say with certainty that nurses will still be at the bedside.
BSN, RN, CDE
Susan Pohl, BSN, RN, CDE
Copyright Kentucky Nurses Association Jul-Sep 2004
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