YON 2020 Day 362: Brittany L. Tucker, BSN, RN, PCCN

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

A Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) who works on a cardiac surgery step down unit at the Main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic, Brittany L. Tucker, BSN, RN, PCCN, loves her job. She is a diabetes mentor and a wellness champion. She is also an avid learner as evidenced by her story and the fact that she will earn her Master of Science in Nursing this coming May with a focus on Adult/Geriatric Acute Care.

When I was seven, my grandmother, who was my best friend, was diagnosed with the progressive form of multiple sclerosis. By the time I was ten, our roles had changed. She developed multiple comorbidities due to immobility. Through it all, she remained determined to continue living independently. My grandmother was a woman who never complained, so I quickly learned to observe nonverbal cues. I watched as her days were brightened or dimmed by interactions with members of her medical team. This is when I knew I wanted to be a medical professional. I realized that the impact her nurses and/or providers had was crucial to the outcome of her day. Soon, I wanted to advocate for patients who could not advocate for themselves. I wanted to build trusting and informative relationships, and I wanted to be the light in a patient’s life when everything seemed so dark. I wanted to be a nurse.

Over the last six years, I have become involved within my hospital system as well as with professional organizations. I work a second job as a travel nurse, and because of that work, I have developed a passion for quality bedside nursing and patient advocacy. I have worked at more than 13 different hospitals and have found all are not created equally. The disparity was quite humbling. Resources, standards, guidelines, and current evidence-based knowledge is often lacking. Someday I hope to help close this gap. I seek to continue to improve both professionally and personally, which I view as being key when working in healthcare.

As patients grow older and more complex, it is important for bedside nurses to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to keep them safe, improve outcomes, cost, and patient satisfaction. Confidence in nursing not only follows experience but also continuous learning. Encouraging and supporting fellow nurses is a vital building block of nursing. Often I share with new nurses the importance of seeking to understand, even when it is uncomfortable. Knowing why you are completing a task or intervention, to me, is often more important than the task itself. Continuous education is important even when not working at a large teaching institution. Education does not only come in the form of a journal or study but in people and culture too. We need to understand that different routes may be taken to arrive at the same destination. Immersing oneself in continuous learning is the foundation of nursing and is essential to providing quality care.

To whom much is given, much is required. It is an honor to be able to provide care to patients. Caring for the entire person by understanding where the person comes from, their challenges, and where they expect to go, is pivotal in determining the plan of care and empowering your patient to take control of their health care. Realizing that our patients are more than room numbers, lab values, and vital signs is the essence of nursing. Nurses can be bright, know the science, and still have empathy. We are learners and teachers, and we can be a force for change. I proudly go to work every day, whether it is good or difficult, knowing that I will make a difference.

Two weeks before I graduated with my BSN, I lost my grandmother in a tragic accident. The memories of my experiences with my grandmother continue to drive my desire to make a difference in the field of nursing. Her stubborn spirit still motivates me to learn. The more I learn, the more I can help. As I care for patients throughout my career, I care for her.

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