YON 2020 Day 105: Mary Catherine Hackman, RN

An Interventional Radiology nurse at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Mary Catherine Hackman, RN, shares her views on the profession of nursing and on what the essence of a nurse is.

If you chose nursing as a profession, then you have chosen a time-honored profession that dates back to the early 1800's, before Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale changed the image of nursing by improving both the standards of nursing and the education of nurses. These advancements have brought us to where we are today, nurses actively filling a need in a variety of settings, both traditional, such as hospitals and clinics, and non-traditional, such as schools, communities, and industries.

There are some basic qualities that all nurses should possess. The most important qualities include compassion, empathy, and effective communication skills. As a nurse, you serve as the initial line of communication between the patient and the physician. The nurse is integral in adequately relaying the patient's needs and concerns to the physician. Additionally, it is essential that the nurse is astute in interpreting both verbal and non-verbal cues to ensure the communication is adequately relayed. Equally important is closing the loop of the communication cycle by providing feedback and education, in terms the patient can understand.

Patients place their lives in the hands of the healthcare team each day. They rely on nurses to advocate on their behalf, to ensure their best interests are at the forefront, and to use their education and training to provide the highest level of care. Easing fears and calming nerves is as vital as providing physical care and lifesaving treatments.

Nursing is a journey filled with ups and downs, rewards and sorrows. It has the power to take you as far as you are willing to go. It is a journey that is taken with a smile, a sense of hope, and the knowledge that along the way you have made a positive impact on the life of at least one person.

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