2009 Winning Essay

2009 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: In 750 words or less, pick two nurses in the film "A Nurse I Am" and tell how they take their jobs to the next level in order to impact the lives of their patients. In light of a nursing shortage that has the potential to affect staffing levels and the quality of care delivered, how will you rise to the challenge to meet the needs of your patients?

Melissa Hughes

Cuyahoga Community College

A Nurse I Am

It was time to find a new career, and it needed to be one that inspired me to become a better person each and every day. This new career I was seeking had to somehow combine psychology, spirituality, wisdom, common sense, love and health care. I needed to become a nurse; it is the only profession that encompasses all the needs of another human being, both physical and psychosocial. In the film “A Nurse I Am”, all of the nurses featured took their job to the next level in order to impact the lives of their patients in a positive manner. There were two nurses in particular that moved me, and made me feel like a wanted to be just like them. Both Bob Wilkinson and Mona Counts are nurses whose knowledge, compassion, critical thinking and wisdom inspire others to be better people.

After watching Bob in action at the hospital, I said to myself, “I want to do that!” What I remember most about Bob is that his patients said that he “made the hospital room a home away from home”. Any nurse that can make a pediatric oncology room feel like home has gone above and beyond their designated duties. He showed compassion and caring not only to his patients, but to their entire family as well. While taking care of the very important medical needs of his patients, he never forgot that they were people first. He seemed to help his patients and their families make sense of everything that was happening to them and going on around them. He took a potential negative and chaotic experience and guided it into an experience that was filled with kindness, empathy, and understanding.

Mona Counts is the epitome of a nurse who has truly taken her job to self sacrificing levels in order to positively impact the lives of her patients and her community. Mona’s dedication to caring for her patients in rural Appalachia is without measure. To see a need and then to fill it takes amazing courage and vision. With Mona’s education, it would be easy to talk down to patients, but Mona never did. She provided a way for her patients to cope with profound issues and medical complications. Mona is the consummate nurse, she is intelligent, thoughtful, proactive and above all she is a patient advocate.

Bob and Mona have given their patients care that goes above and beyond professional nursing care, and that is what makes them not only outstanding nurses, but exceptional human beings. Both Bob and Mona have managed this exceptional nursing care in a time when staffing levels of nursing are at an all time low. In light of potential nursing shortages that may affect staffing levels and quality of care delivered, it is more important than ever to be an exceptional human being. In order to rise to the challenge to meet the needs of my patients during times of staffing shortages, I think the most important thing to remember is compassion. In nursing school, we are always told that physiological needs are always the priority over psychological needs. And it is indeed, very important that a patient gets the best medical care available, and that as a nurse I try to constantly learn, question and stay current in medical and scientific practices. However, it is imperative that the entire person is treated not only with the most competent medical care but that they are treated with compassion, respect, humor, and dignity. In my very limited time spent in the clinical area, I have been told by more than one patient not to loose “that thing” that I have. What is “that thing”? I think it is that I have concern and consideration for my patients’ well being. It is the extra time spent listening to patient’s stories, concerns, thoughts and questions. I may not always have answers for them, but they always know I care that they receive the best possible outcome from their hospital stay. It may not always be easy or even practical to try to meet all of the needs of my patients, but when I look at what Bob and Mona have done, I now know that what seems impossible is most definitely possible.

A Nurse I Am Discussion Guide
A Nurse I Am Discussion Guide

A resource for instructors and facilitators.


The leading online lifestyle platform for nurses.

Watch the movie
Cherokee Uniforms

Fits who you are.