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?

Dafina Skinner

Hinds Community College

Nursing is indeed an art. It is an amalgamation of science, technology, and skill with the art of compassion and caring. It takes an extraordinary special type of person to be a great nurse. Nursing is a profession that changes lives on a myriad of levels. It’s a rare art form that illustrates the importance of caring for people holistically. It is one thing to just go to work everyday and perform specific job duties, but there is a completely different thought process involved to have such a demanding job, perform specific duties, go the extra mile, skipping no steps, yet picking up on the little things that could alter and save lives daily. After viewing the documentary “A Nurse I Am,” I felt so invigorated. All of the nurses in the film exemplified the beauty of the art of nursing; however, two nurses, Bob Wilkinson, and Mona Counts stood out to me. Both, Bob and Mona, are so passionate about their jobs and clearly take what they do seriously, adding a very “human” element to their work. This undoubtedly impacts the lives of their patients. They both take their jobs to the next level, adding brilliant colors to the canvas of nursing—thus, leaving such an impression that motivates not only their patients but all who witness their great work.

Bob Wilkinson, a Pediatric Oncology Nurse at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, KY, touched my life in a very special way. While viewing him in action on the film, I was able to feel the warmth, compassion, and genuine concern that he puts into his care of patients. His upbeat attitude and incorporation of care for the parents of his patients shows the in depth thought process of holistic care for his patients. When I speak of holistic care, I’m speaking of care in its entirety—mind, body, and spirit. There is a kindness present as the film portrays Bob. He treats all of his patients equally, yet his level of care is tailored to their individual needs. It is evident that although he works on an oncology unit, he doesn’t just view them as cancer patients—but unique individuals. He works so hard to make his patients smile and it is evident that he involves them in every aspect of their own care, from chemotherapy treatments to general vital signs. That is indeed awesome! Bob Wilkinson takes his job to the next level because he walks a mile in others’ shoes mentally. This asset helps him to identify the needs of his patients and their families. He is a great inspiration to all. It was encouraging to see him, a minority (male nurse) presenting a challenge to others, male and female, to be the best they can be and touch lives forever. He definitely motivated me and made me proud to be on the path to add to the art of nursing.

Mona Counts, a nurse practitioner at a primary care facility in Appalachia, exemplified how one individual can help an entire community. Mona counts has taken her job to the mountain tops – literally. She makes home visits, remembers specifics about patients from visit to visit, and explains care in a way that promotes long term compliance with health management. This aspect of her nursing skills, speaks volumes. Promotion of community health is so important. Without it, communities would see numbers of drastic health decline. Mona takes her job very seriously and takes the time out to lend her ears, heart, and hands. Just watching Mona at the bedside of one patient, I could feel her presence. Her meticulous nature of assessment and overall presence seemed to make her patients feel the magnitude of great care they were receiving. I have aspirations of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner and watching Mona Counts on this documentary solidified my volition to keep striving toward this goal. It was especially touching to see one of her patients say that if it weren’t for Mona’s attitude, demeanor, and general care, he would probably not go for medical treatment. This was profound. She saved his life. It was evident in the film that just an added ounce of time and care can alter thought processes completely in regards to an individual’s health. I applaud Mona Counts because she continues to touch lives through her work (mine included), evidenced by remnants of positivity left behind even after her work is done.

In light of the nursing shortage with potential of affecting staffing and quality of care delivered, I will undoubtedly rise to the challenge to meet the needs of my patients for several reasons. My link to nursing is a special one. I have indeed walked many miles in the shoes of a patient, my own. I suffered a pulmonary embolism and was tremendously affected by the art of nursing and its impact on the reconstruction of my life. I know what it feels like to be dependent upon someone else for daily care and what little things matter most. I take my experience as tools—within the analogy of art, I take my experience to be the quality of finest paints. I understand that no one patient is the exact same, but I realize what it takes to make a difference. A caring touch, a listening ear, or even a smile, may make the world of difference to a patient. I have made a promise to deliver unbiased care to all, setting no boundaries time wise or other to meet all of the needs of patients that I may encounter directly or indirectly. I feel that the compassion needed to be a great nurse is within me. It is my goal and challenge to others to add brilliant colors to the spectrum and scope of the practice of nursing; just like Bob Wilkinson and Mona counts have. I study diligently daily, as a student nurse, asking questions, researching, and actively participating in programs to develop my skills as a budding nurse. I will bring dedication, logical skills, insight, and a fervent desire to help those who can’t help themselves. I embrace the idea of impacting lives, improving lives, and meeting the needs of my patients – holistically. My canvas is in plain view upon the horizon and it reads, “A NURSE I AM!”

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