Today I’d like to share a poem by Suzanne Gordon entitled ‘Just a Nurse’. Sometimes we (nurses) will hear this comment, ‘just a nurse’ over the course of our nursing careers. I know I’ve heard it and it has never felt great. When I have heard it, I tend to think about all the responsibilities I have over the course of the day that I’d like to share to that person in an effort to educate him or her on how essential the nursing role is to health care delivery. These responsibilities are with the intent to improve the health of others and/or prevent any possible harm.
While there are 3.6 million nurses registered in the United States, not every nurse provides direct care to patients. Nurses hold many different roles to address the direct and indirect needs that are needed to support individuals, families, communities, and populations for optimal health outcomes.
If you think of health as a lifelong journey, every nursing role has the potential and ability to impact lives. I was exposed to this poem and believe that it reflects so many of the different nursing roles that exist in the United States. As a result, I wanted to share this today with hopes that it can reach nurses of any role. Additionally, we may also help build awareness (for those unaware) on the breadth and depth of the nursing profession.
Below is the poem:
Just A Nurse
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just make the difference between life and death.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just have the educated eyes that prevent medical errors, injuries and other catastrophes.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just make the difference between healing, coping, and despair.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just make the difference between pain and comfort.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I’m just a nurse researcher who helps nurses and doctors give better, safer and more effective care.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I’m just a professor of nursing who educates future generations of nurses.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just work in a major teaching hospital managing and monitoring patients who are involved in cutting edge experimental medical research.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just educate patients and families about how to maintain their health.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I’m just a geriatric nurse practitioner. I make the difference between staying in one’s own home and going to a nursing home.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I just make the difference between dying in agony and dying in comfort and with dignity.
I’m ‘just a nurse.’ I’m just the real bottom-line in health care.
Don’t you want to be ‘just a nurse’ too?