by Paula Manuel Staff Nurse Interest Group

This week there has been a profile of a beauty pageant contestant who shared her talent–she is a nurse and her realization she is not just a nurse.  The monologue was a reflection, shared publicly and there is a talent, how to translate what we as nurses contribute everyday and every night using our knowledge, skill, and judgement; contributing to the profession through practice, research, and teaching.  The monologue was not fully appreciated or understood by all.  The hosts of a daily show The View mocked the nurse’s talent, asked why she was wearing a doctor’s stethoscope, and that is when a veritable sleeping giant awoke.

Thousands of nurses posting to Facebook, Twitter, blog comments and it shows we are more than ready to advocate about our nursing role.  My own articulation; as a nurse we have  the knowledge, skills, and judgement inherent to educated nurses–we acquired our professional title through formal learning, experiential processes, certification exam and ongoing accountabilities to our profession we have a code of ethics, practice and professional standards, and performance frameworks.

We save lives, influence lives, act as sentinels, leaders, educators, researchers, and lead the way in public health, management roles, and senior leadership. We can be found on city streets, rural locations, outposts, community hospitals, academic teaching hospitals, tertiary agencies, nursing homes, long-term care, home care, health clinics, family health teams, and primary care to name a few–we’re trusted by the public.

We may have stethoscopes (one of our basic diagnostic skills) and right now my practice requires a BlackBerry, smart devices that harness the world of knowledge, can alert us to patient calls, IV pumps ringing, or monitors alarming, some nurses are in scrubs or business wear and others incorporate their culture or religious considerations. We have requisite skills that some call soft when very much they are fundamental to the therapeutic relationships we build with patients/clients and families; listening, empathy, caring and compassion.

Many of us engage in volunteerism through our professional associations, interest groups, attend workshops, obtain certifications, contribute to policy work, develop best practice guidelines, and advocate for nursing and health care and determinants of health. We are very much health care professionals and the discipline is nursing.  We are not averse to humour by the way, we are averse to ignorance, and I’m sure you can appreciate nursing is who we are not what we do…..thank you I am a Registered Nurse who now happens to be a Manager.  Namaste

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