South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday September 17, 2019
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May 2010 - Volume 6 - Issue 11

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Letís Celebrate: Nurses Stand Up and Be Heard!

Again we approach the time of year to celebrate and honor one of the most skilled, yet sometimes overlooked workforces: Nurses! The Nursing Profession has no doubt benefited from significant strides within the last century related to increased availability of advanced education, which has resulted in an expansion of nursesí skill sets. Often, people who have experienced an episodic illness that requires hospitalization will cite excellent medical care as the hallmark of their experience, or perhaps elements of the facility, or even a specific physicianís treatment. Yet, I often wonder, "where is the praise that should be focused on the nursing aspect of patient care?" This lack of formal recognition is even more surprising, as there are over 3 million registered nurses who play a central role in U.S. healthcare, saving lives and improving outcomes countless times every day.

Before we on speculate on any solutions to the "anonymity" within the Nursing Profession, letís focus on the positive contributions that nurses bring to the healthcare setting. A professional and competent nurse can be characterized by the four "Cís":

  • Critical Thinking
  • Clinical Expertise
  • Collaborative Mindset
  • Cost-Containment (management)
Critical thinking is most essential to nursing practice as it is the nurse who often evaluates appropriate therapies to administer or potentially withhold based upon assessment parameters. In more simple terms, the nurse is the "front-line" clinician who determines when and how patient therapies should be delivered (which could even conflict with physician orders). To complement critical thinking, nurses must also tap into their vast clinical expertise to analyze multiple parameters in order to make treatment determinations that can ultimately save a personís life.

Next, nurses are the most sought after individuals in the healthcare arena for coordinating collaborative efforts among multiple disciplines. Most specifically, for inpatient [hospital] based activities, nurses are typically the first-line to assess changes in a patientís condition or needs, and then the nurse alone will notify and collaborate with other ancillary services (e.g., respiratory therapy, dietary, etc.) as well as the appropriate physician(s). Finally, nurses are perhaps the most important resource when it comes to overall healthcare spending, as the greatest quantities of consumables in healthcare are delivered to the patientís bedside with the nurse serving as the decision-maker as to which items are used for which patient.

Nursing - The Time for Positive Recognition is Now

With the quick review of nurseís impact on healthcare it still makes many wonder why the collective voice of nursing has been relatively "silent" for so long? Nurses have just begun to stand up and declare their expertise and the actions that theyíve taken to improve the healthcare arena. Nurses are not alone in the fight for recognition of their outstanding profession. Several large media publications, such as The New York Times, have begun large scale campaigns to educate the public regarding Nursingís contributions to the healthcare profession, as well as nominating specific nurses for tribute awards.

Perhaps, the most striking example of raising the profession of nursing into the national spotlight came during President Obamaís first online town hall meeting. The President spoke of two separate health incidents, involving each of his daughters, where the nurses were the ones "who were doing everything". He even spoke of the national shortage of nurses and attributed this to factors of low pay and long work hours, which can impact overall quality of life and satisfaction with the career.

The only way that positive change, and most importantly, recognition can occur within the nursing profession is for our members to stand up and be heard! Nurses are the most adept in the entire medical industry at translating medical information to the lay public. Nurses continue to be surveyed as one of the most "trusted" professions only second to firemen. It is likely for these reasons that Corazon finds nurses to be great fit for our consultant roles. Further, nurses add exceptional value to Corazon as they already bring unique clinical and operational knowledge of the industry and proven critical thinking skills to the consulting role.

In short, for nursing to attain the respect and resources that it needs to keep nurses in practice, the public must learn what nurses really do Ö the best way to accomplish this may just be for nurses to become their own shameless promoters! The healthcare industry and its patients will be listeningÖ

Ross Swanson, Vice President at Corazon, can be reached at rswanson@corazoninc.com.
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