CELEBRATING 2020: THE YEAR OF THE NURSE

Even after almost 30 years practicing as a Nurse, it warms my heart that my parents are still so proud of my occupation. Everytime I go to visit them, they have a collection of my Nursing School related mail that they can’t wait for me to open to share with them what’s going on in my industry. My dad will find every opportunity to bring up “my daughter is a Nurse Practitioner” in casual conversation. In fact, it came up today as I’m writing this blog post when I went with him to his doctor’s appointment.

During one of my routine visits a couple of months ago, I received a letter from UCLA's School Of Nursing announcing they were celebrating the "Year of the Nurse". Confused yet thrilled by this proclamation, I immediately started looking into what this meant. In my research, I found out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020, “The Year of the Nurse”. Why? The year 2020 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing and The WHO wants to “elevate and celebrate the essential and robust contributions of nurses.” This is music to my ears.

Nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals in the US and make up about half of health workers in the world, yet they continue to be the unsung heroes of our society. Forget the Oscars! We need to celebrate the “Nightingales” to recognize the work, leadership and contributions of Nurses and Nurse leaders found in all healthcare settings and roles.

I have lived a thousand lives as a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner in a variety of hospital settings before discovering my ultimate love of aesthetics.

I have cared for patients who were incarcerated, shackled to their hospital beds, sex workers with infected hearts from IV drug abuse, a beautiful young woman lying comatose from an auto accident, a young child suffering from sickle cell crisis, a heart transplant recipient whom I had to shock back to life, a young man I gave mouth to mouth to because there wasn’t a nearby ambu bag, a man losing the use of his legs for some mysterious reason. I have been there for the birth of lots of babies and I have seen my fair share of death too. These patients and their stories remain with me forever and have shaped me as a person, mother, wife, sister, friend and the Nurse Practitioner I am today. Some may think my current role as an Aesthetics Nurse doesn’t have as much heart as the dramatic encounters I faced early in my career, but I find I am still changing lives, and in some cases, in a more profound way. When a patient sits in my chair, she is unmasked and revealing her insecurities and requires me to have compassion, empathy and understanding to connect. Beauty is inside and out, and it’s my job to make sure my patient understands that.

There are over 3 million Nurses in the US and we have been deemed “The Caring Professional” who integrate 5 core Nursing Values into our practices and our lives. These values are:

  1. Promotion of human dignity
  2. Integrity
  3. Autonomy
  4. Altruism
  5. Social justice

It is our job to promote good and always do what is best for the patient. I’m not perfect but I strive to live my professional and personal life according to these 5 values everyday. I have loved my long career as a Nurse and I never look back with regret. I am proud to be a Nurse Practitioner and the mentor to many Nurses and nursing students. I hope to continue to inspire and facilitate the next generation of individuals who are the heart and soul of healthcare.

To celebrate this monumental year that pays tribute to my favorite profession, THE ROUTE™ will be acknowledging 1 Nurse every month that has made a loving, lasting contribution to the world in their own unique and humble way.

We can’t wait to celebrate 2020: THE YEAR OF THE NURSE!

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