The theme of National Nurses Week 2015, running from May 6-12, 2015, is "Ethical Practice. Quality Care," and Springer Publishing Company is proud to honor the nurses whose incredible dedication to the highest standards of care serves as an inspiration to us all. To do so, we collected stories from our readers of how exceptional nursing has made a difference in their lives.
"I am a nurse and a 7 year breast cancer survivor! I had a septic episode due to a kidney stone in 2013. I was extremely ill to say the least and it was sudden onset. I went into a hypocalcemic and hypokalemic state with tetany and seizures while hospitalized. A rapid response was called. I looked up to see an angelic nurse, which happened to be a nursing student that I had mentored and educated. She was the lead RN for the rapid response team and she worked diligently with the physicians to save my life. In that moment of an overwhelming feeling of gloom and doom, this RN brought an insurgence of peace and tranquility to me. I do not know how I knew it, but I knew she was going to reverse my chronic condition toward positive outcomes! I was a proud nurse, mentor, preceptor, educator and stand-in mother for this beautiful young lady, my nurse. You have to understand this nurse lost her mother to breast cancer and I was her stand-in mother through her nursing education. Little did we know that I would end up with breast cancer too and she would not only save my life but be my primary nurse in the future. All I can say is God is good and bless the nurses, especially this one! She is an angel in disguise among many other nurses that give selflessly in practice on a daily basis."
-Vicki A. Martin
"Emergency room nursing is a challenge every day for nurses - caring for those critically ill and those who think they are. It is easy to become jaded. Going to work was always more pleasant, more congenial, and more rewarding when [one exceptional nurse] was working. She cares for all of her patients as though they were loved ones - giving of herself both personally and professionally. No matter the problem - from heart attack to nosebleed, she spends the time to make the patient and their family believe they are the most important people in the emergency room at that moment in time. If one were to look up 'the art of caring' in Taber's dictionary, her smiling face would be there. Having her as a co-worker gives me to pause to reflect on the joy of the profession. As an educator, I teach the skills of nursing and the critical thinking that the profession demands. I cannot teach the emotional character that it takes and hope that all my students find that character and enjoyment. She is my idol."
"[My nursing role model's] exceptional contributions to quality nursing care affect 1000s of patients and nurses every year. Her skill, commitment, and dedication to the profession and to the people she works with are inspiring, demanding courage when the decisions she makes might challenge accepted practice or even legal precedent. She demonstrates dedication as she faces the challenges inherent in her complex role day after day. Because of her, staff speak up when they see a mistake, and quality patient care flourishes as a result. Thank you, for being a role model to all of us."
"My very talented sister, Betty, had cancer and was in the final stages of her battle. Betty was 48 years old when she died. Because of the metastasis and medications, she was often hallucinating- picking spiders off her bed or staring across the room, trying to comprehend what she was seeing.
"Betty was an artist all of her life; there was no media she couldn't work in and produced many beautiful works of art. One day, Betty proudly handed a very over-worked tissue to the oncology nurse- exclaiming it was a rabbit. The nurse accepted it as if it were a treasure. The next day, the nurse brought sketchpads, charcoals, pastels, brushes, and paints- just in case Betty felt like drawing or painting. Unfortunately, Betty did not have the interest or strength. It didn't matter- the supplies stayed in the room and Betty enjoyed knowing they were there.
"The nurses were honest, kind, and patient with all of the family, but they were excellent in taking care of Betty. Several of the nurses who cared for Betty came to her memorial service. I have worked oncology and have to say, the nurses who cared for Betty in her final days were some of the best I have ever seen- they epitomized caring and patient-centered care."