2011 Winning Essay

2011 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: Which of the attributes of the nurses who appear in the film would you like to emulate - and why?

Shantel Jamieson

Walla Walla University
Portland, OR

Nursing as a profession stand upon the framework of analysis of data, diagnosis, planning, treatment and evaluation. Through these five steps nurses assist patients in attaining optimal health, recovery, and end of life comfort. However, as I viewed the nurses recognized for their inspired Comfort, I realized that the core of the nursing profession is found in the interlinking of each of these five steps. The interlinking core is simply compassion – a selfless and dedicated compassion that sees, listens, and acts. Robert Wilkinson and Mona Counts each passionately showed that the core of the nursing profession is compassion that must be found in the heart of a nurse. Seeing their compassion in action stirred a desire within me to be a nurse who understands the framework of nursing, but who has built that framework around a compassionate core.

A selfless and dedicated compassion that “sees” was clearly seen in pediatric oncology nurse Robert Wilkinson. His attentiveness to each child’s age appropriate need was remarkable. He wanted to simply make his patients feel better and therefore he had to be able to “…see what they are going through…” His nursing approach allowed him to see the need to sit at a child’s bedside and talk about onion rings, counsel stressed parents, distract a child in pain, or simply round-up the toy army men for battle while simultaneously treating the medical diagnosis. Nurse Practitioner, Mona Counts’s compassion that “sees” differed from Robert’s because hers was focused on community. She chose to view the needs of other higher than her own and dedicated herself 24/7 to an underprivileged community. She became a dependable health source to everyone.

A listening compassion was emphasized by Mona, “…if you focus and listen the patient will tell you what is wrong with them…and what they need.” In the clips of Mona, she was actively listening. She never started her five steps of the nursing process without firs listening to the patient. One example that inspired me washer visit to an elderly couple. She attentively listened to the woman’s life story, looked at photos, and listened to her patient’s current issues not just relevant to diagnosis data. Through her listening she was able to emphasize her patients need for self-care. I saw in Mona a characteristic of taking the time to compassionately and actively listen and I wish to strive to implement it into my own practice.

Lastly, is a compassion that takes action. Both Robert and Mona portrayed a compassion that acted selflessly in the best interest of their patients. Robert’s subtle action was in the confidence that his patients and their families had in his ability to handle, educate, and support them through diverse challenges. His action was in finding answers to questions, being the physical touch amongst the machines, and being his patient’s advocate. In contrast to Robert’s subtle action, Mona embodied action. Her community recognized this action in her aptitude and willingness to solve healthcare problems . She would recognize a need and then put into action a plan with the patient’s interest in mind. She hired a neighbor to assist a medically challenged elderly lady to stay in her home and she took a healthcare cost of $1400 and minimized it. Her actions made her a source of knowledge, an honest confidant, and a community builder. Each nurse’s demonstration of action was different, but each inspired me to be proactive in my patient care and combine both small and large actions to optimize patient’s care.

Both Robert and Mona embody attributes that I will strive to emulate in my profession of nursing. I want to work in an environment like Mona where patients with lower socioeconomic status are being served. I wish to have compassionate eyes big enough to see a community in need and to have ears attuned to compassionate listening so I can see my patients as unique individuals. I desire to exemplify compassionate action within a community so each member is able to use resources to meet their needs. I wish to have the personal touch of Robert. To be able to look into a hospital room and not see a diagnosis, machines, or patient, but to see an individual and family facing a life altering challenge. I want to be the dependable small compassionate action that every patient needs by his or her bedside. I desire to build my profession upon the framework of the nursing process, but fore mostly to build a compassionate core.

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.