2008 Winning Essay
University of California, Los Angeles
I am still in the UCLA Nursing Program, and I will start clinicals next month, this is my 3rd year of the program so I will graduate next year. This year I was elected president of the newly formed undergrad nursing organization so our main goal is increasing our exposure on campus.I also serve on the board of the UCLA SON Multicultural and Diversity Committee and the UCLA SON Alumni Assoc. Board
As a third year student in a prelicensure program, I have only begun my voyage into the nursing career. But, I am honored to say I am part of a profession that includes the four intelligent, intrepid, and benevolent nurses presented in A Nurse I Am. Their stories are truly a testament to the power of altruism and how the actions of one person can impact so many lives.
Although I considered myself quite familiar with the role of a nurse in the hospital setting, I was unaware of the amount of selflessness and dedication that one needs to be an exemplary nurse. From this film, I have learned that, to a certain extent, you must deny your own wishes and desires to serve others. But, the reward of seeing that patient recuperate is worth the long hours, the tears, and the sleepless nights. You become attached to your patients, and as a result their restored health renews your vitality and vigor. However, their decline shatters your spirit. Watching Nurse Bob Wilkinson break down in the hospital chapel, talking about cursing God, and bargaining with God to take his life in exchange for his patients’, was one of the most poignant, tearful, and also heartbreaking parts of the film in my opinion. He is willing to sacrifice his own life to save his patients, people that are not family, or even friends, but strangers before they came into his care. Nurse Wilkinson’s unflinching devotion to his craft and his patients, to take on their burdens, even when he does not need to, spoke volumes to me as to what a brilliant nurse should be. Before this time I was aware that a nurse was dedicated to patient care, but now I know that truly great nurses take on their patients’ problems as their own, and fight for their patients’ well being, without any provocation or promise of reward or acknowledgement.
If anyone needs a reason to be a nurse, Mona Counts, PhD, is the reason. This woman is a supernurse! She embodies and personifies an independent nurse and showcases the amount of flexibility you can have in the nursing profession, as well as the variety of tasks a nurse performs in a single day. No other healthcare professional, doctors included, rivals her level of autonomy in her practice. Her representation on A Nurse I Am is so important for those considering nursing as a career because it directly contradicts stereotypical images and depictions of nurses in the media that make the nursing profession look less important and less crucial than it really is. In this case, a nurse holds the most essential healthcare position in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. If she were not there, almost 5,000 people would lack any kind of fundamental health care. To see Dr. Counts manage her own clinic, make house calls, assess the health of her many patients, and advice them on treatments inspires future nurses so they too, can be as self-sufficient and influential as her.
Nursing is not an easy career, but it is a worthwhile and fulfilling one, and worth working for. As Ardis Bush said, “Nursing is more than a job”, it’s a sense of beneficence that propels you in all aspects of life, including care for patients. I pray that one day I can work to reach their accomplishments and be worthy enough to reach the high standards for nursing they have set.