2009 Winning Essay
Seton Hall University
I am currently in my second to last semester at Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing and look forward to graduation in May of 2011. I am also the Student Government Class President for the Traditional Class of 2011. I have recently been intrigued and inspired by the different avenues nurses and faculty have taken into the realm of research and I've begun my immersion into this wonderful and exciting world by becoming part of the Honors Research Program. This past summer, I traveled to Australia as part of the Minority Health International Research Training Program (MHIRT) and aided in immunological/biobehavioral investigation, in basic science, lab bench research. I aspire to obtain a PhD and conduct research in the future but my clinical side has fallen in love with trauma nursing. I hope to do my final practicum in a critical care unit or other fast paced setting where I can hone my clinical skills and assessments as well as get my hands a little dirty.
I have transferred from Seton Hall University to Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. I have just started my first clinical and on my first day, I was floored when I got the opportunity to meet Dr. Ben Carson, one of our prestigious living legends at Johns Hopkins Hospital and of our country. It is a great honor to be part of a great health care community that is Johns Hopkins and to begin my clinical experience at our country's #1 hospital, 19 years running, has inspired me to work harder to represent the nurses of Hopkins as best I can.
They forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
-Carl W. Buechner
Nursing, a profession of compassion, is rarely seen as more than bedside care. To receive a person in a state of illness and witness their progression into health is a small miracle, yet it is an everyday occurrence in a nurse’s life. One’s work is rewarded with the well being of another and there is no greater satisfaction than to nurse and care for another.
Bob Wilkinson of Louisville, Kentucky and Mona Counts of Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania are exemplary models of what it is to be a nurse. They have taken the profession and created a lifestyle out of their passion for others. Every thought and action is carried out with the finesse and heart of a nurse. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty to rediscover the true nature and character upon which nursing is founded: altruism, raw, unadulterated humanity is what drives these nurses and it manifests itself in their daily lives.
Bob Wilkinson broke the archetypal mold of what a nurse should be. At first glance, the man towers over his young patients in the pediatric oncology floor, but there is a sincere grin that spreads across his face that can brighten the darkest of rooms. His silliness may be seen as unprofessional to some but to his patients, it is an uplifting and refreshing breath of air, raising their spirits and speaking to their hearts. His vocation as a male nurse implies something about his character. He is strong and confident yet approachable, and his patients seek comfort in his care. It is apparent that Bob’s role as a father to his own children has had a great impact on his work as a nurse and vice versa. According to Bob, nursing is a profession filled with unanswerable questions, particularly that of “why?” The human aspect of life brings into perspective its counterpart, death, the rhyme or reason of which can never be clear. It is something that can be compared to an itch left unscratched; the thought of death eats away at the spirit, yet there is no way to soothe the irritation.
Mona Counts shares the same dedication to her patients. Her commitment is shown through her humble practice as a nurse practitioner in a small, rural town. She brings a sense of empowerment and advocacy to her patients by informing them and making herself available as often as possible. Mona has become her patients’ guide, interpreter, and supporter through all of their trials and tribulations by directing them toward a healthier lifestyle, enlightening them with opportunities and options, and encouraging goal-setting. She does not use her nursing knowledge as a form of authority but as a means of helping others. She understand the power of the common individual, and the fact that compassion has a greater influence than a position of dominance. It is easy to trust a doctor with one’s body, but it is easier to trust a nurse with one’s spirit. Mona’s patients trust her with their body, mind, and spirit, which are heavy weights to carry; despite these responsibilities, she rises to the challenge and gives of herself more than can be asked of any other individual. Her intensity and diligence as her patients’ advocate leads her through a continuous journey. Although she cannot lead her patients’ lives, she provides them with the means of living a life of the quality for which they long.
Nurses are asked to do so much for their patients that it is sometime difficult to see beyond the immediate demands and remember the benefits of the work. The shortage of nurses has revealed emerging problems in patient care and a new frontier has been established to ameliorate the current dearth of healthcare providers: evidenced-based practice. It is my ambition to go into nursing research, especially in the field of evidence-based practices. If nursing practices are founded on evidence that proves efficiency and effectiveness, they can revolutionize how healthcare practices are planned and implemented, providing patients with better care overall. Just as Bob and Mona have rediscovered the principles of nursing altruism, my generation of nursing students has been given the task of moving forward into the new millennium and advancing nursing into the new age where technology and practice must unite to provide the best care for patients.
It is a wonderful lesson to learn and to keep re-learning: The duties of a nurse are never finished. As a new generation of nurses enters the work force, it must be emphasized that perseverance is a vital attribute of nursing. A clean bill of health is only the beginning of something much greater, for it opens doors. The field of medicine provides the means to survive, but a nurse provides the opportunity to live.