For nurses, taking care of others requires also taking care of yourself
The American Nurse Association has designated 2017 as The Year of the Health Nurse. Around the country on May 6–12, patients, families, and friends celebrated the nurses they know for National Nursing Week. This was an opportunity to honor and recognize the many contributions that our country’s nurses make, in their local communities and around the world.
At the Harris Casel Institute, we take seriously this special week to honor our nurses and student nurses (celebrated on May 8), since we offer training programs to become a Nursing Assistant as well as a Practical Nurse. Whether you are training to be a nurse, know a nurse, or simply have been a patient, we offer this article with some reflections on the profession.
The many impacts nurses have
Here are just come of the ways nurses make our lives better:
Working with the support of many local health departments, clinics, and outreach programs, nurses provide care to members of many underserved and at-risk populations, including the homeless, veterans, and women living in domestic violence shelters.
For some children, a nurse may be the only healthcare provider that they will meet. On a daily basis, school nurses treat a range of conditions, from cuts and bruises to more serious physical—and emotional—emergencies.
- With the elderly
Nurses provide caring contact for the elderly and chronically infirm, who may otherwise be somewhat isolated and deprived of human touch. A nurse’s knowledge, patience, and compassion provide these patients with dignity as well as much-needed care.
- For patients with extreme illnesses
Some nurses care for high-needs patients in the ICU, as well as those undergoing treatment for cancer or any number of rare diseases. In doing so, many nurses do more than offer excellent care; they can also offer sensitivity and perhaps even a dose of humor—which can help sustain patients and their families, even during the most challenging illnesses.
- Disaster response
Whether it’s for a domestic or International disaster, nurses are some of the first professionals to respond, with professional aid and hands-on care.
- International service
Many nurses use their professional skills to deliver health care and training in underprivileged places around the world. Their services help improve the health and living conditions of many in dire need.
Nurses need balance
This year, the theme for National Nursing Week was “Nursing: The balance of mind, body, and spirit.” Traditionally, activities around the country include celebratory receptions, workshops, or seminars to support nurses in their careers. For 2017, many activities centered around helping nurses find ways to keep themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Since nurses care for others every day, this week is a special reminder to nurses to make it a priority to take care of themselves first, and make time to restore, refresh, and recuperate. If you’re a nurse or nursing student, how do you recharge your batteries? Is it a meal with a good friend, a massage, a Zumba lesson, or a good laugh at a comedy show? If you know a nurse, support them in taking time for self-care.
The Florence Nightingale Pledge
The last day of National Nursing Week (May 12) is the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. In her honor, we invite all nurses to reflect on the Florence Nightingale Pledge:
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
A modified version of the “Hippocratic Oath,” this pledge was composed by Lystra Gretter—another nursing pioneer—and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, MI.
If, like the many nurses who have taken this pledge, you’re inspired to devote yourself to caring for others, consider joining this rewarding profession by studying nursing at a school like Harris Casel. You’ll get the academic and practical training you need, and access to resources that can help you find your first job. It’s a meaningful career to become part of!
This article is part of the Harris Casel Institute’s weekly blog. We conveniently offer a number of career training programs at our campus in Melbourne, FL. Contact us online for more info!