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How Do Nurses Inspire: Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is an annual celebration from May 6-12 that aims to recognize the contributions of nurses and their important role in our everyday lives. This year’s theme, created by the American Nurses Association (ANA) is "Nurse's: Inspire, Innovate, Influence" and what better way to see how nurses do these three things than by talking to an experienced RN.

Celebrating a Nurse Close to You This Nurses Week

This year, we celebrate nurses week by getting to know a local Southern California nurse who has had the opportunity to use her skills to inspire, innovate and influence others and her patient population.

Brittany M., MSN, WHNP, RN has worked as a nurse for 12 years in both clinical hospital settings and other environments such as school nursing. She’s spent most of her career in L&D, Antepartum, Postpartum, NICU, Newborn Nursery, Fertility and went back to school for her Masters in Women’s Health as an Nurse Practitioner. She explained that nurses have the responsibility and gift of providing care to others in need and often during a person’s most vulnerable time of their lives.

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“We provide not only physical care, which is extremely important, but more important we provide reassurance, a calming presence, an ear to listen and a voice to advocate. Nurses make an impact daily as we embody the nature of our work and title which is a caretaker of patient’s mind body and soul as best as we can.”

Nurses are recognized for their ability to inspire others, but often times, they are on the receiving end of the inspiration. This is especially true during intense patient care experiences, where a patient may give a nurse the inspiration he or she needs to keep on going.

“I think what always impresses me most of my patients is their strength,” Brittany said. “As a long standing labor and delivery nurse, I was a part of many deliveries; deliveries that often took days. I would watch as women would be physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, and somehow through it all they would gather the strength to bring a brand new being into this world. Nothing is more awe inspiring then watching that miracle. It takes more strength in all its definitions, than anything else I’ve witnessed.”

According to the ANA, Nurses Week is celebrated each year to honor nurses for the work they do, and educate the public about nurses’ role in health care. Often times, nurses do not get the recognition they deserve, and nurses week allows healthcare professionals and the general public to congratulate them on a job well done and thank them for all they do.

“Being a nurse is hard work, and it’s not one that can be done is absolutely a team ‘sport,’” Brittany said. “What makes a great nurse is a great team. If you ask any nurse they would agree. Because there are days when things get tough, and time is short and you need more hands than you’ll ever have, and having a team that steps up and steps in is crucial for any patient care scenario to run successfully. Some days you’ll be in need of help and others you’ll be lending a hand, but if we all work with a team mentality it naturally inspires one another and we all feel encouraged and strengthened by each other.”

Nurses Week and Student Nurses

Student nurses have a role as part of National Nurses Week as well. In 1997, the ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as "National Student Nurses Day." Brittany had some great words of wisdom for new nurses:

“To a bright eyed new nurse I would say: Take every opportunity to learn from those around you. I learned pretty quickly that in every group of nurses, each nurse has their strengths, and you can absolutely benefit and build your own strengths by emulating those of others. Some are great leaders, some have amazing clinical skills, some know how to think best on their feet in times of crisis, others are very organized, and others are best in difficult patient dynamics. Whatever it may be, my advice would be to take advantage of all the talents around you, soak them up, apply them, and realize that your best teacher was not one from nursing school, but all your experienced peers you’ll have all around you!”

Nurses are in a unique position to positively impact the lives of everyone within their reach. From helping patients to mentoring a new RN, the options are endless on how nurses can inspire, innovate and influence--all year round--not just during nurses week.

“I can say a nursing career is one that you can rewardingly enjoy in various avenues. There’s no limit to what you can learn and the number of lives you can positively impact.

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