Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Nurses' Value to Society

A Nurses' Value to Society

As I was leaving the hospital recently after a late day of meetings, crossing the parking deck coming in my direction was an elderly man with a very tired look on his face. Under his right arm was a long cardboard box with the words 1-800-flowers on the side. In that moment, I was struck by the humanity and personal challenges that all of our patients and their loved ones face when in our organizations across the country. This gentleman was visiting someone he loved, perhaps a wife, perhaps an older child, perhaps a sibling, but regardless, the look on his face was one of concern and sorrow. As I passed him, I said hello and wished him a good day, and he gave me a little smile which quickly dissolved as he headed toward the front entrance of the hospital.

I realized at that point how much of our work becomes just our routine work, how much of the pain and sorrow becomes routine. I felt somewhat guilty that I was leaving the hospital to teach an aerobic class and then spend the rest of my evening with my family, while others suffered so much. I also realized that nurses are the human component in the healthcare delivery system, uniquely prepared to reach out to those in need and fill the void of human caring created by clinical environments. We, as nurses, can never let go of that awesome responsibility that we share. As the most trusted profession in the world, it is our calling to be there for those in pain and suffering, those in fear and those that are moving on to worlds beyond us. It struck me that it is also critically important that we, as nurses, never allow ourselves to become hardened to those who need us so much, for what a waste it would be to miss an opportunity to emotionally be in the moment and reach out and help those we serve.
Take a moment to reflect on your role as a nurse and the importance you play in the lives of others. Relive those special moments when you realized a difference and the satisfaction that you felt knowing you were able to help. It is an honor and a privilege to serve in the capacity that we do and to possess the skills that are so uniquely nursing. We may have times that we are tired, drained, frustrated and disillusioned with our profession, but the greater good of what we do and who we serve far outweighs the episodic challenges. I am grateful every day that I am a nurse and, despite the challenges, I would never want to go through life as anything else.
About the Author:  Dr. Val Gokenbach has a true passion for leadership and has been in administrative healthcare positions for over thirty years. As a professional dancer and fitness instructor for over 40 years, Val has led a dual life as a fitness presenter, consultant and dance instructor. She has been featured as a health consultant and guest host on multiple TV shows and QVC. As an international speaker and author, her goal is to share her life's philosophy with all nurses and help them realize their value to the world.

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