The Nursing Bridge Program asked Maryanne and I to write an article on what International Nursing Day means to us. Below is what we came up with. Enjoy!...
Every year on nurses day, we as nurses, take time to reflect on how proud we are to have chosen the nursing field. We reflect on the incredible importance nursing is as a profession. In the United States, nursing routinely tops the Gallop poll of "Most Trusted Profession" with 85% of Americans rating the ethical and honesty standards of a nurses at "very high/ high". These standards continue to amaze us. It's such a unique profession with so many different roles which has a universal acknowledgement for being so "noble."
We have spent countless hours listening to our friends and pondering their stories of nursing across the spectrum. We heard the stories of a neonatal ICU nurse after she described the experiences of helping a mother rock her dying baby for the last time. We have beamed with pride as a friend told us the signs and symptoms she recognized when her patient was having a heart attack, and assisted in getting him immediate and lifesaving treatment. It's not an uncommon site to see a coworker braid a patients hair and massage her hands through a chemotherapy infusion despite her heavy workload because she wanted to calm the patent's nerves. And most recently, we fought back tears as we walked around a crowded unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and witnessed the nurses comfort the victims from the recent factory collapse in Savar.
Nursing continues to be a profession that while growing and changing, remains to be a necessity for improved outcomes in patient safety. We were chosen by Massachusetts General Hospital through a Global Health Care fellowship to promote, encourage and educate nursing with the eventual goal of opening a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. While coming here with the primary goal of teaching, we find ourselves learning from the nurses just as much as we hope they learn from us.
At a recent class at Dhaka Medical College we asked the nurses what drew them into the nursing profession. Each and every single nurse told us through their native language, "I chose to be a nurse because it is the work of the heart". Fortunately, it was a sentence we could understand without the use of an interpreter.
That evening while discussing our newest lesson plans, we discussed how well we were adapting to our roles in Bangladesh. We may have been brought into Dhaka through the nursing AK Khan Healthcare Trust to assist in advancing the nursing medical expertise and instructing clinical skill set, but every student in our classroom already had the nursing "heart", which is the only requirement of the profession that cannot be taught