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What kind of nurse am I becoming?

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What’s it really like to be a nurse? The inspiring film “A Nurse I Am” answers that question by featuring four compassionate, caring nurse role models who are deeply committed to their patients and profession.

Every year, Cherokee Uniforms holds a scholarship program based on the film. Entrants are asked to write an essay in response to “A Nurse I Am,” and the 10 winners each receive a $2000 scholarship to put toward their nursing education. Here’s one of the winning essays.

What kind of nurse am I becoming?

A Nurse I Am was a wonderful introduction to the realities of nursing. Not merely the experiences that a nurse will face from day to day, but the capacity of accomplishment from heart, spirit, intention and a professional standpoint. Every nurse symbolized in these short films defines the role, the stature of a nurse just as it was meant to be regarded.

Ardis Bush represented dedication, kindness, and advocacy in nursing. Her family centered approach to nursing reflects a down-to-earth, ever-concerning aim to provide her patients opportunities to take control of their health. Ms. Bush has a gentle demeanor yet she directly communicates with her patients. By keeping her finger on the pulse of their feelings and experiences, she ensures their safety and comfort in and out of her care. She is a listener and she follows through. Patients count on her, trust her, and find rest in her care. A patient scribed a blessing for her at a moment when he could not speak.

A single parent herself, Ardis Bush is grateful for the opportunities that nursing has provided her. She cares for her family from the lens of a nurse. As her sister transitioned from this life, she was there as sister and nurse. She seamlessly meshed the two responsibilities in a great time of need, possibly being unaware that definitively the two were absolutely one. Nursing for Ardis Bush is never ending; it runs in her veins, it defines her journey through life.

Bob Wilkinson: a strong man, a father, a nurse. Humility and vulnerability met with stability and conscious care makes him a standout among his peers. He accepts heart ache as part of his charge, yet faces each family with a smile, a song, a support through a difficulty storm.

Bob identifies parental pain and creates a safe space for families to learn and grieve. His spirituality allows him to bravely confront every new disappointment without answers, but with hope nevertheless. Excellence exudes as he visibly advocates for his patients or uses healing touch to communicate his presence. Bob sits at the foot of the bed, waiting for a breakthrough. With every patient, he seems to increasingly embrace his own existence.

Like Ardis Bush, I am a single mother. Like Bob Wilkerson, I love children. As a student, I am developing into a nurse daily. Images such as these shape my path going forward. I am finding that somewhere beyond the pathophysiology and the vital signs, I will emerge and face my patients with the essence of who I am.

I plan to provide excellent care to my patients by striving in my studies and reaching outward and inward throughout my clinical experiences. Reflection will help me acknowledge areas that I need to strengthen and those that helped me connect. I am coming to realize that nursing is a role that is always evolving. I understand that my everyday experiences will permeate my practice. It is paramount that I do a thorough job and provide care that is evidence-based and brings comfort and relief. I intend to extend to my patients the right to access my professionalism for questioning, attentiveness and assistance, knowing that I am willing to help.

As a teacher of nine years, I am aware of the necessity of getting to know students in an effort to accomplish the ultimate goal. Nursing is not merely about the technical aspects that we are expected to refine and master. In school we gain the tool to execute optimal care. This wealth of attainment needs a conduit of delivery that evolves only at the bedside. Nursing must be channeled from the heart.

As I ardently strive to be a nurse that my clients will benefit from having, I truly await the experiences that will make me a better parent, daughter, sister. With every interaction, I will learn how to care better. Collaboration with my colleagues and the families I serve will shape my future in nursing for the benefit of the patient; ultimately pruning the nurse in me. This is a cycle of care and continuum of growth. I am proudly on a never-ending quest toward providing superb healthcare. This is the nurse I am; the nurse I am becoming.

By Randi Simpkins

Read more inspiring essays by the 2012 winners of A Nurse I Am Scholarship Program here.

Caption: Randi Simpkins–Duke University School of Nursing

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One Response to What kind of nurse am I becoming?

  1. Hi
    Thanks for sharing this article with us. Great nurses aren’t just compassionate and kind — they have all the medical smarts of a doctor too!

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