Nurses play a such a vital role in healthcare that we set aside an entire week every year (May 6-12) to honor them. National Nurses Week celebrates the care and devotion that nurses provide to patients each and every day in a variety of healthcare settings. Laurie St. John, a registered nurse with Hartford HealthCare at Home, offers these insights into the the vocation:
Q. What does it mean to be a nurse?
A. Being a nurse is a privilege. Patients place their trust in us when they are at their most vulnerable. Nurses listen, observe, empathize, advocate, protect, communicate and coordinate. Our unique role is to connect with patients, educate them and place them in the best situation to stay healthy.
Q. What is the mission of the Hartford HealthCare at Home Staff?
A. Our nurses and all of our staff are unlike traditional caregivers. We are in the home where people are the most comfortable. They are able to stay home and receive the care they need without ever having to leave their home. Our staff is primarily made up of nurses, some who have been on staff for many years.
Q. Tell us about the Nightingale Awards event that takes place every year during National Nurses Week.
A. The Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing program is a collaborative effort to celebrate outstanding nurses and elevate the nursing profession. The goals of the program are to encourage retention, inspire future nurses, focus public attention and recognize the breadth and scope of nursing practice at the local level.
Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners may be nominated for recognition by their employers if they are involved in clinical practice, leadership, scholarship and/or education. Nominees should have made a significant impact on patient care and/or the nursing profession, gone “beyond the call” in a clearly illustrated scenario, demonstrated excellence above what is normally expected, shown commitment to the community served in a way that is significantly above the norm, or achieved a life-long legacy in a particular arena.
Since 2003, the Greater Hartford Nightingale Awards Gala has honored nurses and awarded $84,000 in nursing scholarships to local nursing students.
Q. Since you began as a nurse, how has the profession changed?
A. As healthcare has evolved and become highly complex, nurses find themselves at the center of multiple disciplines and specialties coordinating care for patients. In addition to the direct care that nurses provide, we are an integral part of fostering communication between members of the care team and the patient and their family.
Nursing is a practice based on science, art, advocacy and ethics. Nurses are highly skilled clinicians prepared with a rigorous education in the sciences.