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?

Debra Tsakiridis

West Suburban College of Nursing

The film, “A Nurse I Am” is inspiring. All three nurses show exceptional ability and professionalism. Below, I will explain why I consider two of them as going “above and beyond the call of duty” in their care of patients, and then discuss why – when I become a nurse – I believe I will e able to similarly exceed expectations (despite a nursing shortage).

Mona’s work as a Nurse Practitioner in Appalachia is vital. Many of the people she serves would not receive medical care if not for her. She is genuine, has basic nursing skills, and knows theory well. Yet, what really stands out is her personal knowledge of patients – undoubtedly achieved through her easy smile and laugh that makes them open up to her. She actively listens, by closely positioning herself at their level, and often touches them to show a measure of comfort. Mona is a good communicator; she doe sot only tell patients what to do about current health issues, but asks open-ended questions about their past, present, and personal lives. She never belittles their concern about healthcare costs. It is only after this active questioning and careful listening that she offers medical advice to help them optimize a healthy future.

Now to the second nurse: Bob. Bob’s care for cancer-stricken children can be very difficult, as he said: the endings are not always happy. Despite such potential disappointment, which might cause others to guard their emotions, he seems like a big man with a big, warm heart. He shows love to the kids and their families by being very flexible to varied situations. His honesty in telling one child that he did not know what the cancer outcome might be is admirable, matched by his talent for telling stories and making up songs to brighten a child’s sadness or fear. Bob certainly uses his nursing skills with the children, but also includes and interacts with their parents and caregivers. His belief in God is translated directly into how he ministers and serves the entire family unit.

So how would I be able to achieve the same degree of flexibility, active questioning and listening, despite the demands made on busy nurses in often understaffed hospitals? The first step, to learn all I can while in school, I’ve already begun.

A nursing shortage can increase a nurse’s patient load, with the potential for reduced patient care – possibly even putting them at risk. This is, of course, unacceptable. As an aspiring nurse, I believe that taking the time to give individual attention to small details cannot be balanced against volume; quality and quantity. Bob and Mona are good examples that these achievements are possible, and I will strive to be as competent, genuine and full of love as they – and from my past care of and interactions with ill family members, believe that I can.

I am excited to begin my nursing career at West Suburban College of Nursing, which believes in training nursing leaders. Using the management skills and leadership tools I will learn here, I anticipate being a participant on hospital and community committees – an active part of ensuring quality patient care through appropriate staffing levels. In this way, I also hope to further the reputation of the nursing profession, and attract others to it.

On a personal level, I must also use wisdom in caring for my own health and strength, so that when working, I can give 100% to patients. They deserve no less.

It was beneficial to watch this film and “meet” these exceptional nurses who exemplify the reason I want to be a nurse. I gained wisdom by seeing their patient interactions, and believe – through absorbing their example – that I can similarly make a positive impact on the lives of future patients.

Thank you for providing the opportunity to view their conscientious, caring skill.

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