Happy Nurses Week

Happy Nurses Week

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Happy Nurses Week! As I began reminiscing about the 45 Nurses Weeks I have celebrated, I also thought about all the changes I have seen in those years!  The 2024 theme “Nurses Make the Difference” has never been truer. In a time where technology and artificial intelligence (AI) reigns, nurses still bring compassion and empathy back to their patient or resident. No piece of equipment or AI can hold someone’s hand as they pass on, embrace a new mom when the baby is born, or be with the family to share good or bad news. Nurses are not only on the front lines of healthcare, but healthcare legislation at both the state and federal level. Here in North Carolina, there are five nurses in the state legislature on both sides of the aisle, and three nurses represent their districts at the federal level. You do “Make a Difference”.

So back to the original thought. I asked my friends what has changed in 45 years. For the young nurses, you may go, “no way”, for those of us in the “Old Nurse Group”, it was a way of life. In nursing school, we were cloistered in hospitals (most living in residence), staffing the hospital floors at night in our second or third year of diploma schools. Most nights in the hospital, there was a skeleton crew of registered nurses about, but many, many nursing students. The third-year nurses were supervising the second-year nurses. We did everything, from cleaning the IV poles, to sharpening and sterilizing the needles, to sterilizing the reusable foley catheters! If our patients had a “bed sore” we used Maalox and heat lamps to heal. If the ‘sore” had drainage, then some betadine and sugar were added to the dressing. (Which debrided the wound when yanked off!) We learned to calculate drip rates for IV’s, how to hang TPN, lipids, IV antibiotics all without pumps. Luckily, right before the AIDS epidemic most items had become disposable, so we did progress. 

Ever heard of Wangensteen or DeLee Suction techniques? Well, we had to display competency in such to graduate! Every patient received a bed bath and a back run after receiving their evening medications which were carefully poured into souffle cups in the med room and delivered. Chart racks were on wheels for rounds in the nurses’ station. You have a new order? Turn the chart on its side and pull the tab. At night we were responsible for “redlining”, the charts, ensuring all orders were in the right place. We carried 3 color pens—black or blue for during the day, green for evenings and red for night. When Sister entered the nurses’ station, it didn’t matter who you were, you stood up. We were responsible for keeping the doctor’s ashtrays clean, and our stations immaculate. It was a time of respect, honor, and pride. We DID make a difference, and frankly today, with all the advanced technology, YOU make a difference! You don’t need archaic methods to possess the heart of a nurse. You would not be in the profession without it.

So, it cannot be said more that I am thankful for all the advances. Mission Health is evolving with new dining robots, a virtual scheduling platform to promote work-life balance, and remote patient monitoring with Theoria Medical. I would like to thank all of our nurses for being open-minded and adapting to change. This is the perfect example of your character toward the profession and your residents. Not only do innovations improve the Mission Experience for nurses, but also for the residents. It allows nurses to have more one-on-one time with residents to make them feel comfortable and at home. You are making a difference.

Happy Nurses Week to all Mission Health Communities nurses! 

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