Written By Adrienne Duncan, RN, BSN
Resource Nurse, Empira
The year of the nurse is here!
Although this year has been rough so far, it has cast the light on the profession of my choice and on the millions of other nurses around the world. Caring for those with illnesses can be scary, but we do it anyway.
Although even more attention is on the profession during this pandemic, the truth is nurses have been highly regarded by the public for a long time. Actually, according to a yearly poll done by Gallup, nurses were rated by Americans as the #1 most trusted profession. This has been the case for an impressive 18 year streak! 85% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as high or very high. This honor is crazy impressive considering the poll included other medical professionals like physicians, dentists, and pharmacists. 85% is also impressive given next most honest profession was engineering coming in at 66%.
Nurses are seen as compassionate, dedicated, educated, advocates who will do right by their patients and uphold high standards. People come in contact with nurses during some of the most vulnerable times of their lives. During this vulnerability, trust is surrendered to those caring people who are caring for you and that can be scary. But as nurses we meet these challenges almost daily and still rise to the calling and do it anyway.
If you take a look back at history to one of the first nursing pioneers in the field, you will find an amazing woman named Florence Nightingale. You may have heard of her before but you probably don’t know how much she actually influenced healthcare and social reform.
She was a world traveler who grew up in an affluent, proper family with two homes. She defied her family’s plan for her to become a socialite in the upper class to pursue a nursing career. She was deeply religious and was answering a call from God to be of service. In that era, nurses made little money and were not as respected as they are today. Florence did it anyway.
Her influence is world-renowned, from her work with soldiers during the Crimean war, to opening one of the first nursing schools in England. (I know what you are thinking: Crimean war??? I didn’t know what it was either, it was a military conflict fought from 1853 to 1856. Russia was there, so was the Ottoman Empire, France, United Kingdom and Sardinia. Feel free to look it up if you want to know more.) Ok, back on topic.
Florence realized the impact of the environment on the overall well-being and outcomes for her patients. She promoted nutritious food, clean linens and clothing, fresh air and ventilation, and sanitization. She and her team of nurses were able to significantly reduce the mortality rate of soldiers in military hospitals, from as high as 40% to nearly 2%. Thank goodness for people like Florence, who do it anyway.
And the world needs more. More individuals to answer the call of service to the nursing field. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the U.S. is projected to have a shortage of nurses that will only increase as Baby Boomers age and nursing schools are also having a hard time increasing their capacity to meet the demand.
According to Purdue Global, here are the top 10 Reasons to become a nurse:
- Nursing is an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives
- There are ample job opportunities
- Nursing is a trusted and respected profession
- There’s significant opportunity for inter-professional collaboration among a variety of health care disciplines
- Nursing offers a high degree of job satisfaction
- Employment choices are wide and varied
- Work full time, part time, varying shifts
- Nurses receive excellent benefits
- Nurses can travel the world
- Nurture a love of learning
Nursing is beautiful and it can be very hard, but it’s worth it. I would never take back the times I decided to do it anyway. When I was told I was too young to be taken seriously, I did it anyway. When my residents with Alzheimer’s didn’t know who I was, I smiled and loved them anyway. When I was really busy at work and I thought I didn’t have the time to sit at the piano at 10pm on Christmas Eve and sing with Edith, I did it anyway.
When I decided education was my best way to use my strengths and support other nurses, I was filled with both nerves and excitement and I did it anyway. Here’s to a profession that gives, and takes, but mostly gives.
“To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through…that is what it is to be a nurse.”Rawsi Williams
No matter what, we’ll always take care of you!