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Balancing BSN with bedside manner

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Gone are the days when a nurse’s sole job was to administer cold compresses and warm words. Today’s nurses are expected to be critical thinkers, decision makers and problem solvers. They are expected to be knowledgeable in policies, practices and procedures. As the world of healthcare continues to evolve, nurses are moving into practitioner roles and taking on new responsibilities for patient care, safety and healing.

This year, as we celebrate Nurses Week, we celebrate the advancement of our profession. We salute the awesome power and responsibility put squarely on the shoulders of our bold nurses. We raise our heads proudly and declare: We hold bachelor’s of science degrees, we hold master’s degrees, we hold PhDs. We are an educated, motivated and powerful source in the fight for our patients’ safety, care, well-being and rights.

But we must never forget our role to comfort, care and cater to our patients. In the high-tech, high-speed world of healthcare, we must remember that it falls to us to ensure patient comfort, be it physical, mental or emotional.

Our patients often meet us under less than desirable circumstances. They are at their weakest, their most scared and their most vulnerable. It is to us they turn for a kind word, a warm touch and, above all, the confidence that they are in good care.

We must always remember to balance our proudly held degrees with an equally important bedside manner.

This Nurses Week, let us revel in that and let us thank the nurse leaders of yesteryear who paved the way for the roles we enjoy today. Let us acknowledge and celebrate how far we have come as healthcare providers, how central our role has become to the patient experience and how educated we are as a profession. Let us declare proudly that we are more than our predecessors could have ever dreamed we would be. Let us take pride in the role of today’s nurse.

Yet, let us also remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Let us not forget that in addition to all we have become, we still remain the voice of comfort, the hand of caring and the face of hope to our patients.

Dr. Pam Fuller is Dean of the University of Phoenix College of Nursing. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Arizona Nurses Association and National League for Nursing, and a board member with the American Liver Foundation.

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Pam Fuller

Dr. Pam Fuller is Dean of the University of Phoenix College of Nursing. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Arizona Nurses Association and National League for Nursing, and a board member with the American Liver Foundation.
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8 Responses to Balancing BSN with bedside manner

  1. Marla Sheiner

    What a great article to remind us of the transformation of today’s nurse — that will in turn transform patient care and expectations. This was a great reminder of the strides the profession has taken and the strides it will continue to make!

  2. Maryann

    This article is great as encouragement for the nursing profession, but, even so, it left out the vast numbers of well educated nurses that do not hold an advanced degree, yet know how to “nurse” the sick back to health. Please, do not leave out recognition for the thousands of nurses in the front lines, who have been there for many years doing what we were taught…to be a nurse.

  3. Theresa KrzeMien

    Dear Dr Fuller,

    Thank you for that beautiful article….and assessment of our profession 2011.

    I am going to print it and keep.

    Theresa Krzemein RN, MSHS

  4. Theresa KrzeMien

    Dear Dr Fuller,

    Thank you for that beautiful article….and assessment of our profession

    Theresa Krzemein RN, MSHS

  5. While I honor ALL of the nurses who practice now and who have come before me, I must acknowledge the fact that the world is changing rapidly. I DO understand that academic degrees no more guarantee professional prowess as a nurse than a driver’s education course guarantees a safe driver. But in both instances, the value in thinking about things differently, of taking concepts out of the environment where decisions are made and actions taken, and evaluating them without the heat of the moment bearing down up on one has value.

    Just as every parent wants more and better for their children, nursing must strive for more education and better education for OUR young. This is NOT to imply that what we have now is wrong or “less than” or “not enough” but rather that we must have more tools to adequately address the challenges that we face today and tomorrow.

    It’s complicated- inside and outside of healthcare. Learning how to accomplish the tasks in better ways need not threaten or demean anyone involved. We are, after all, in this together.

  6. Janeen dahn

    You are an inspiration Dr. Fuller….

  7. Kathy

    Well written and a much needed reminder to keep reminding ourselves of our very important role. we will stay true to our values and principles and keep making a difference in lives!

  8. Glenda

    This is a beautiful article that reminds nurses everywhere that although we may be high tech, we must remember the high touch and caring that composes the art of nursing. This makes me proud to be a nurse, still, even after many years practicing. I would do it all over again. Thank you Dr. Fuller!

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