YON 2020 Day 5: Melissa D. Cole, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC, CENP

What advice would you offer to a person interested in nursing?

When I think about why I chose to become a nurse, I remember that it was an easy decision for me, because my mom was a nurse and I saw in her all the qualities I wanted to emulate. Now that I have been in nursing for over 15 years, I can honestly say that becoming a nurse has been an amazing experience. Nursing offers endless opportunities. You can be a nurse in the military, in a hospital, on a cruise ship, or in a school. You can be an administrator or entrepreneur. It is the profession that allows us to be present with people in their most vulnerable moments. It is a profession that will challenge you, reward you, grow and develop you.

People will ask, “What do you need to be a good nurse?” As I reflect on my own practice and look at the nurses that I work with at University Hospitals (UH), I would say that you need curiosity, cultural awareness, time management and critical thinking skills, compassion, empathy, adaptability, and resiliency. The UH Nurse is the foundation to achieving our vision at UH of “advancing the science of health and the art of compassion.” It is the nurse that puts compassion in medicine. It is the nurse that holds someone’s hand when they are dying, that is the shoulder for families to cry on, that celebrates when our patients accomplish their goals, and that is the person your friends and family call when they have a medical question. Most importantly, the nurse is the person that will always continue to care.

Nursing has taught me more about myself than I could ever have anticipated. It requires self-reflection and openness and I am thankful for the unique perspective that this profession has given to me.

Melissa D. Cole, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC, CENP, is the Vice President at the Center for Emergency Medicine at University Hospitals Health System.

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