Celebrating Excellence: A Salute to Nurses

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Lake Oconee Nurses

By Marsha Knapik

Nurse’s Week allows us to set aside some time each year to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution nurses make in our world. Corazon would like to explore a little about what attracts people to select nursing as a career and to take this opportunity to applaud what they can, and do contribute, to healthcare every day.

Balancing the nurturing aspects of direct patient care with the use of science and technology to assist in the provision of that care has long held nursing at the center of the question, “Is nursing an art or a science?”  For most of us who choose nursing as a life long endeavor, I would wager that neither of those things was forefront in our minds as we started our nursing career.  Over the years in the nursing profession, I have encountered people who chose nursing for varied reasons ranging from following in another family member’s footsteps, an affinity for biology and sciences, or just wanting to be in a profession of helping others.  Whatever the reasons a person initially selects nursing as a career, once they are in the profession for any period of time, they quickly see there is something for everyone.  While bedside nursing remains a mainstay of the profession, the nursing field has become highly diversified and opportunities abound for those who choose to embark on the nursing path. Each type of nursing provides and opportunity for the individual to shine a light on their strengths and what they can contribute for the patient.

For those who argue that nursing is an art, one might have to agree that being able to comfort those who are ill, discuss end of life with an ill patient’s loved ones, and calm the fears of a child would certainly qualify.  Although you can teach techniques to accomplish those things, most individuals who enter the nursing profession have an innate ability to provide comfort and support and have exemplified that in their personal lives before pursuing a nursing career.  The argument for nursing as a science is supported by the need for understanding science, biology, and technology as it applies to the care of patients.  A nurse is not successful if he or she can not understand the science behind the care and embrace the new technology that helps support it.  One could consider, or would prefer to step away from the art and science argument and just define nursing as a very special profession embraced by some very special people who accomplish many amazing things.

Nursing is not a stand alone profession.  Nursing, by itself, can accomplish many things, however, nursing within a health care team, can do so much more.  The real value of a nurse is the ability to apply all of the knowledge, skill, and compassion to the work the health care team is trying to accomplish.  As a team member, nursing skills work in tandem with other health care providers (and their specialized skills) to accomplish something far more complex than each team member could accomplish on their own.  Who from their early nursing education does not remember hearing “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”?

While working as a nurse in the cardiac cath lab, I personally found my greatest rewards, and I would guess many other nurses would say the same.  Most often it was working in a very complex, high risk, high stress case that ended successfully for the patient and that what made that case successful was the teamwork involved.  In that “well oiled machine”, that team builds on one another’s strengths and abilities to overcome any individual weakness and keeps it all under control.  It is at this time that the nurse is reaffirming why he or she decided to come into the field…to be a part of something bigger than ones self. 

Corazon salutes all of those individuals in the healthcare field, but for this one week in May, we salute the nurse!  In any setting, the nurse has a role to play and the importance is not to shine as an individual, but to contribute to the work at hand so that all can shine as a team.  Corazon applauds all nurses in all specialties, and for today, while letting the team shine as a whole, let’s let a little individual light shine on the nurse just a little bit brighter!

Marsha is a Senior Consultant at Corazon, Inc., a national leader in the full continuum of services in the heart, vascular, and neuro specialties, including consulting, recruitment, and interim management.  To learn more, visit www.corazoninc.com, or call 412-364-8200.  To reach Marsha, email mknapik@corazoninc.com.

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