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Patients often recognize that a nurse is the health care professional with whom they and their families have the most direct contact. But they might not realize that nurses also are leaders in improving the quality of care and expanding access to care. That’s why May 6-12 is celebrated as National Nurses Week, an annual opportunity for communities to recognize the full range of nurses’ contributions.
This year’s theme, Nurses: Leading the Way, recognizes nurses as leaders at the bedside, throughout communities and in the halls of government. The public holds nurses in high regard and trusts them to advocate for patients. For the past 12 years, the public has ranked nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics in an annual Gallup survey.
Nurses practice in diverse roles, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers. Nurses are leading initiatives to increase access to care and improve outcomes by focusing on primary care, prevention, wellness, chronic disease management and the coordination of care among health care providers and settings. These are areas in which nurses excel given their education and experience.
As the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, nurses will be more crucial than ever, leading efforts to expand primary care at community-based health centers and deliver more efficient and cost-effective care as members of collaborative health care teams.
Mercy nurses are highly skilled and also compassionate caregivers. Thank you for everything you do on a daily basis. Our patients and family members depend on us.
Chief Nursing Officer
Clinical Ladder Level III
Nurse Practice Council
CPOM Super User, EMAR Super User
From a young age, Cayla says she knew she wanted a profession that would allow her to help others. “I wanted to work in a hands-on field and always found the human body fascinating,” Cayla says. Nursing was the perfect fit.
No matter how difficult the day, Cayla says she feels a sense of accomplishment knowing that she helped ease someone’s pain or fears. “Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold, a friendly face or someone who will listen,” she says.
Cayla shares a story about a cancer patient who was rapidly declining and could not make it home with hospice services. His dying wish was to see his dog. Cayla made several phone calls and arranged for the family to bring his dog to the hospital. The patient slipped into a coma before the family could arrange the visit, but he was at peace knowing his dog was going to come. The family was also grateful for the chance to fulfill his one final wish.
“Nursing is a profession founded on caring for others,” Cayla says. “I have discovered that the best nurses are not always the most knowledgeable ones – they are the ones that genuinely care about their patients and families. As a nurse, I strive to be someone that will set aside time each shift to sit with a patient and let them know someone is truly listening and honestly cares.”
Akron General School of Nursing, R.N.
Clinical Ladder IV
Unit Diabetes Educator
PCC/Charge Leadership Committee
Christine’s beloved aunt was a nurse. She spent a lot of time with her aunt and her family while growing up, and she was a very positive influence and role model in her life. From the time Christine was a teenager, she knew she also wanted to become a nurse. In 1981, Christine fulfilled that dream when she graduated from Akron General School of Nursing. She is currently working on her BSN.
Christine says the nursing profession has proven to be satisfying and almost a sacred calling. “I love being a nurse; the caregiving role gives me great satisfaction,” she says. She has served her entire nursing career in the coronary care unit. “I feel it is very challenging and encourages me to strive for knowledge and continue to be a lifelong learner.”
Christine’s experience, clinical knowledge and instincts have benefitted her patients. Christine recalls a time when a patient was admitted because of an infection in his aortic valve. While receiving his bedside report, she was told he had been complaining of chest pain and nothing seemed to help. “My instincts and experience were telling me that the pain was not just from the infection, he was having an MI, which was confirmed with an EKG,” Christine says. The patient went to the cath lab for an angioplasty.
Throughout the years, Christine says nursing has given her many opportunities for personal growth. “Nursing has fit well into my life and has enabled me to help support and enjoy my family,” she says. “I have been married for 33 years to Bob. Together we have raised six sons and now enjoy three grandchildren.”
Kent State University
Stephen says his mother was his inspiration to become a nurse. “She has been a nurse for 20 plus years and truly loves her job,” Stephen says. Now Stephen has experienced that love for nursing firsthand and says one of the most satisfying parts of his profession is seeing patients smile when they are discharged after recovering from a major operation.
Patients appreciate Stephen’s calm demeanor, positive personality and exceptional communication skills. They often ask if he is going to be back to care for them the next day. He is also respected by his coworkers and physicians and was recently recognized as one of the best team players in Mercy Heart Center.
According to peers, Stephen’s ability to think critically, respond quickly and pay close attention to detail make him a “go-to” person in his department. He has learned to be ready for the unexpected and can adjust accordingly.
“I work with so many amazing and intelligent people,” Stephen says. “I can only hope to be as good as they are some day. I feel privileged to be surrounded by such great people.”
Stephen is a preceptor for new hires and students. He is also active in his community where he serves as a volunteer fireman.
Mercy Emergency Department
Kent State University at Tuscarawas
Clinical Ladder Participant
Emergency Nurse Association Member
Best Practice Policies and Procedures
David says he’s always had an interest in the medical field. So several years ago, while working jobs he felt had little purpose, David decided to enroll at Kent State University at Tuscarawas to pursue a nursing degree. He served as nursing student class president and was the graduation speaker. Now a registered nurse in Mercy Emergency Department, David says what he finds most satisfying is allowing Christ to work through him by showing compassion and caring for others.
“So many people are hurting physically, mentally and emotionally,” David says. There is no greater opportunity in life, David says, than influencing others and impacting their lives.
David is a natural leader and described by coworkers as dedicated, self-motivated and a highly valued member of the ED team. He advocates for best practices for both staff and patients. He is a great communicator and teacher helping patients know what to expect during their time in the emergency department.
2014 Cameo of Caring Recipient
Mercy Cancer Center
Clinical Ladder Level III
EMAR Super User
Star Performer May 2013
Dishon says it is a true blessing to serve in the profession of nursing. “I am realizing how rare it is to love what you do and even rarer to enjoy the environment and people around you in the workplace,” Dishon says. He has been a part of many communities but says none have been as fulfilling as Mercy Medical Center and Canton, Ohio.
Dishon provides highly skilled care while also demonstrating compassion and empathy. His calm demeanor is comforting to patients, and he has a talent for communicating effectively and eliciting trust. “When I am able to develop relationships with patients and help them through difficult times, the life experiences they share with me are priceless,” Dishon says.
He shares a story about a young woman who was suffering and eventually passed away. “I saw a family that was so strong,” Dishon says. “They invited us (the nursing staff) to share in their mourning. I was able to pray with them and offer any comfort, along with my coworkers, but ultimately I received so much from their graciousness.”
Dishon receives numerous compliments from patients and their family members. He was selected as Mercy’s Star Performer for May 2013. He has also been selected as the 2014 Cameo of Caring recipient. Dishon will be honored later this year at The University of Akron as Mercy’s representative.
About The Author
Cindy Hickey, Administrative Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Mercy Medical Center, began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1982 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the advisory board of About magazine and is a graduate of the 21st Class of Leadership Stark County.