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?

Melissa Hart

University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL

Compassion: A Necessity For Quality Nursing Care

Compassion is not merely the sympathy you show toward a friend or family member in need, but rather the sympathy that causes you to act on an inner desire to help those very same people. Compassion links the entirety of a nurse’s scope of practice, not only what one is obligated to do under licensure, but what one is compelled to do as a human being; make a difference and make it count. Bob, Mona and Ardis have an abundant flow of compassion seen in every aspect of their work, both on the clock and off. Through the compassion they show to their patients, patient’s families, and friends, they themselves become quality nurses giving quality care.

Compassion is “love, touch, confidence, sincerity, care, hope, and honesty. It is your whole entity.” –Bob

Bob acts in quite a fatherly role. Yes, he is the patient’s nurse, but he is also more than that. He is his 4 year olds playmate in battle, his 8 year olds singing partner, and his 16 year olds confidant and friend. He is there for his patient’s parents. To emulate the type of compassion Bob displays would be therapeutic type of compassion, compassion seen in touch, in comfort measures, and in honesty. To be able to maintain such a high quality of nursing care revolves around compassion. Without compassion there is no time taken to build rapport, to listen, to hope, or to love. Without compassion nursing is a regimen that ends and begins with the time clock.

“Health in Appalachia is function, not just absence of disease” – Mona

Mona shows an entirely different aspect of compassion. To emulate Mona’s compassion, one has to be driven to improve the community as a whole. As a nurse it may be hard to accept that patients sometimes don’t get better, they merely maintain. To be able to give quality care like Mona means acting out of the duties of an RN, taking on the roles of social services and case management to ensure the patient has resources to maintain quality of life. To encompass this type of compassion would be to maintain determination and desire for a holistic wellbeing of your patients, a compassion that goes beyond the title of RN.

“Compassion is treating not only the diagnosis but the person, the person with feelings, the person who is going to cry sometimes.” – Ardis

Ardis works to achieve an emotional wellbeing for her patients. She works to achieve a sense of harmony between the patients and the nursing staff, as well as instilling a sense of spirituality which is seen through her radiating smile and driven dedication to all those around her; her family, her patients, her friends. She is there for whoever needs her. “I have to do it, I am a nurse.” To emulate Ardis would be to show compassion based on faith, hope and love.

To be a great nurse essentially means you have many qualities that enable you to be a leader, a teacher, an advocate, and a friend. One must become a cocktail of the acts seen by Bob, Mona and Ardis. Compassion is not a single quality rather an umbrella that encompasses many qualities. Compassion means you care, you are loyal, devoted, honest, and hardworking. It means you are willing to do more for others than for yourself. Compassion requires a humble non-judgmental individual.

Compassion is knowing when to be the shoulder to cry on and when to be the motivator for life changing health habits. A compassionate nurse goes beyond daily linen changes, and medication regimens. They are a caring nurse, a nurse who acts not out of duty, but out of love from her heart and sincere concern. A compassionate nurse stays after the clinic has closed to see the walk-ins of her community. A compassionate nurse instills faith and hope into those around her. A compassionate nurse sympathizes with the patient and their family.

I believe compassion is no quality that is learned. It is a quality that is innate, one attained even before birth. These three nurses go above and beyond the duty of any RN, they are leaders, teachers, advocates, but most of all they are human, just like their patients, they are human. Humans born with a desire to help fellow mankind, born with a desire to care, born to be compassionate. My name is Melissa and a Student Nurse I Am.

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