2015 Winning Essay

The 2015 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to address the following: Patients and their family members base their perceptions of the care received on their personal experience with the medical personnel they interact with. After viewing the film "A Nurse I Am":
(1) Describe how the nurses in the film build a positive rapport with patients and their family members; and
(2) How will you ensure that you provide those you care for with a positive healthcare experience?

Jessica Hermosillo

Baldy View Regional Occupational Program

Nursing is often thought of as a thankless profession. But, if it is your true calling, admiration for the human spirit will be your guiding light. The nurses featured in the film A Nurse I Am have exceptional personal qualities that exude grace and dignity. Each nurse is able to build a positive rapport with their patients in a seemly effortless manner. It is clear that throughout their careers, they have relied upon their individual moral foundations to implement a standard of care we all strive for. The nurses exhibit a genuine concern for each patient and their family that creates an environment in which people are able to share their feelings and fears. These healthcare providers realize that you are never too old to abide by the "Golden Rule"-treat others as you would be treated. These nurses ensured that the patient's needs were met and rights protected. Advocating for the patient is clearly a priority for each nurse; they expect each patient to have the best quality of life possible. Nurses address each patient by their name and not a number. These nurses go beyond establishing a vein of communication; they put a life line in place. They identify each patient as a human individually worthy of dignified care no matter their age, income or education level.

Practicing this rule has established a unique balance between their professional and personal commitments. Because of the high standard of patient care dispensed by the nurses in the film, it is important that the time be made to focus on their family and private life, as a way to mitigate stress. Each nurse's family must function as a unit in support of one another. I also believe that the nurses' ability to separate their work from private life – family and faith in a higher power plays a key role in how they interact with their loved ones. The fact that each and every nurse personified humility in the face of potentially overwhelming demands is amazing.

In 1995, I was a 17 year old high school senior in pregnancy denial. I had lost my closest friends and the disappointment I had caused my family was unbearable. Prenatal care was not something I thought about, but my mother (who was in disbelief), forced me to see a physician. I chose to be seen by a female nurse, rather than the male doctor. From that day on, my life has never been the same. Paige Hardin, RN, not only confirmed my pregnancy on that day, but also sutured the broken soul of a teenager in distress. Even though I felt tarnished in the eyes of society, she treated me with dignity from a level that invited connection. She encouraged me to succeed and to not be a statistic. She instilled pride in me when nobody else cared. I gave birth to my son 1 month before graduation, and if wasn't for this spectacular nurse, I would not have graduated with my class. God works in mysterious ways; sometimes, angels are disguised as nurses to save us from ourselves. I will always remember what she did for me, and plan to devout my career to practicing patient care in the same manner. Becoming a nurse has been my goal since having my son. After working as a medical assistant for 10 years and going back to school, I am proud to say that I am almost there. My son is now 19 years old and in the Navy. He has been the driving force behind me since his birth.

Nursing has to be in your heart to ensure a positive healthcare experience for the patient – it needs to be a calling. My heart doesn't beat "lub-dub", it beats "nurse-nurse". My personal experiences as a pregnant teen, young mother, medical assistant and nursing student are etched in my memory, forever. I will always try to recognize and validate the needs of a person. Altruism is very important to me. I believe everyone deserves the best care in life and in death. I have been blessed with education. I am obligated to share my knowledge and faith in humanity with people I come in contact with. Positive experiences can occur anywhere. Whether I am employed at the most technologically advanced hospital or a 2 bed clinic, I know the way I conduct myself may impact the patients I treat forever. We often underestimate the power of touch, a smile and a listening ear, which all have the power to heal.

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