Nurses have my admiration and appreciation – not only because of their skills and abilities, but because they do their work with such strength, focus, and dignity.
Since coming to work at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in 2002, watching nurses go about their daily routines, observing their communication with patients, their interaction with administration and planning of special events, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of respect for those that choose nursing as a profession, especially Army nursing. Army nurses appear to have unlimited ideas, energy, compassion, and empathy. Not to mention their “regular jobs”, whenever there are volunteers needed for a task – nurses seem to make time in their schedules to get involved. “Living with Passion” is a phrase that comes to mind when I think of Army nurses.
May 6th is National Nurses Day, and the kick-off for celebrating National Nurses Week. When I asked for help in pulling together information to educate FYI magazine readers about the nursing profession, nurses jumped in and quickly provided such good details even I learned some new things.
National Nurses Week always ends on May 12 – the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale is credited for being the founder of modern nursing and many of her practices have proven valid, even today. The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care.”
Every year, Nurses Week is dedicated to one of the nation’s most-trusted professions. Nurses can be found in many different roles. The majority of nurses work in hospitals, but nurses also work in public health clinics, schools and homeless shelters. Army nurses are found in command of hospitals and Lt. General Patricia Horoho, an Army nurse, is the Surgeon General of the Army.
According to Eisenhower nurse Major Lisa Phillips, who has a Master of Science in Nursing degree and is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, the Army Nurse Corps has been implementing the Patient Caring Touch System (PCTS) and Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Both PCTS and PCMH are patient-centered methods of delivering care. PCTS is in place in the inpatient arena, whereas PCMH is primarily a model for outpatient care. Both are designed to put the patient at the center of all that is done, to improve outcomes and satisfaction. Key components of the PCTS are communication, accountability, and standardization.
Lead nursing is one very visible change you may experience if you are an inpatient at Eisenhower. The Lead Nurse is assigned to the patient for the entire hospital stay. They will prescribe the nursing plan of care by taking into consideration the special needs of the patient, such as dietary needs or streamlining a medication regimen to mirror what the patient practices at home. The Lead Nurse will also ensure follow up and follow through on issues identified during admission. As a result, the trust between a patient, the patient’s loved ones and the nurse is enhanced. This leads to better overall results and increased satisfaction for both the patient and the nurse.
Each clinical area at Eisenhower has a Unit Practice Council (UPC), which allows designated representatives to develop their own unit-specific process improvement initiatives, tailored to their particular patient population and centered on evidence-based care. In the Intensive Care Unit, the UPC is working on improving the quality of sleep for their patients. The nurses worked with the physicians to specify times for daily blood work and X-ray films so that patients are able to rest, uninterrupted, for at least six hours every night. Getting more uninterrupted rest can be a big help to those recovering in a hospital setting.
Additionally, PCTS provides capability building for the nurse leaders throughout the Army Medical Department. Each nurse is molded using talent management, leader development and skill building. Talent management develops the next generation of Army nursing leadership by pairing the nurse with job opportunities that are best suited to their strengths and personal goals. Leader development enables our nursing team members to develop as leaders and prepares them to succeed in any level of medical operation. Skill building provides consistent, relevant opportunities for nursing team members to refresh their knowledge and patient care capabilities.
Nurses routinely work varying shifts throughout holidays and most Army nurses are deployed every two to three years. Nursing is a diverse, dynamic, and complex profession. If 100 nurses were asked why they became a nurse, there may very well be 100 different reasons. However, one reason they would all likely share is a desire to help others. Nursing is a profession of caring and National Nurses Week is an opportunity for the public to show nurses just how special they are.
Much appreciation is extended to Major Phillips not only for the work she does but also for providing such enlightening information so all of us could learn more. The nurses at Eisenhower will continue to ensure that the care provided to our beneficiaries is world class through initiatives that allow us to focus on the patients’ needs. Nurses place a lot of value in the trust that is bestowed on them when caring for another person. This truly makes them “Serving to Heal, Honored to Serve.”
It would be nice during the first full week in May to take time to express your appreciation if you know a nurse or interact with one. It is appropriate to express your thanks any time of year, but especially during Nurses Week. Where would we be without them? I may be biased, but I believe Eisenhower has some of the best nurses around. From what I hear from our patients, they think we do as well.