National Nurses Week: Why am I a nurse?

By Kristy Bleizeffer May 4, 2015

Nurse Trista Russell cares for a patient on the Pediatrics Floor at Wyoming Medical Center.

Trista Russell, registered nurse, cares for a pediatric patient at Wyoming Medical Center.

National Nurses Week 2015 begins this week. It’s a great excuse (as if you needed one) to thank nurses for all they do to care for the communities in which they live.

In honor of the week, we asked several of our nurses to answer two questions: “Why am I a nurse?” and “What does great patient care mean to me?”

Their answers demonstrate the remarkable care and compassion our nursing staff provides our patients every day and on every shift. We’ve shared a selection of them below. If you haven’t already, take a few moments this week to thank a nurse in your life for doing what they do. 

Why am I a nurse?

20140515_WyomingMedicalCenter_160645-2

Jessica Peterson, RN, talks with a nurse colleague at Wyoming Medical Center.

I do what I do because it makes me feel good to help others feel better in their lives.  We do AMAZING things in the Operating Room, and while many cases are ordinary, many are unexpected and traumatic.  We work together as a team to save lives every single day.
- Penny Hughes, Operating Room, 8 years

I love to care for people who do not have a voice, whether from a stroke, dementia, brain injury or one of several other diagnoses that prevents them from communicating their needs to others.  Caring for this population for 10 years has taught me to read people and know what they need, even if they can't tell me themselves. I see so many nurses come and go because the shifts are long and demanding. But knowing that I helped a person and got to know them on a different level, at their most vulnerable, makes every day worth it.
- Rebecca Johnson, Neurology, 10 years  

I am a nurse because of a nurse at Denver Children's Hospital who cared for my son 20 years ago. At 17-months-old, my son became critically ill and I stayed with him 24/7.  Consequently, I became ill. A wonderful nurse talked me into leaving the hospital overnight to rest, assuring me she would care for him the way I would.  I came back to the hospital early the next morning to that same nurse rocking him, feeding him yogurt and singing to him – just like I would have done.  Shortly thereafter I enrolled in nursing school so I could someday do that for someone else.
- Connie Coleman, Surgical Unit, 15 years 

I treat all my patients and families as if they were part of my family. I deliver the care that I would want myself and my family to receive. While I cannot take credit for this quote from Melissa Swank of qualityoflife.org, it sums up how I feel about what I do on a daily basis: “What does nursing mean to me? It means being blessed to work with a group of dedicated individuals who exemplify the true meaning of compassion. It means being able to share in a family's most intimate moments and maybe make a small difference in their pain, suffering, and loss. It means being able to touch lives without saying a word, just by simply being there and lending support. It means being proud of what I do each and every morning I look into the mirror. It means making a difference.”
- Jennifer Straight, Operating room, 18 years

I am a nurse today because I wholeheartedly believe this is what my Heavenly Father led me to do.  He placed me on all the right paths, with the right opportunities and the right attitude.  None of my talents are mine alone.  They were delegated to me so that I, in return, could provide holistic care to the expecting families I come into contact with each and every day.
- Jennifer Anne Cockrum, The Birth Place, 17 years

 What does good patient care mean to me?

Nicollette Hanson

Nicolette Hanson, RN, cares for a patient at Wyoming Medical Center.

Good patient care means caring for the entire patient as if they were a member of your family.  We understand that the OR is a scary place, and we try to help both the patient and the family feel as comfortable as possible.
- Penny Hughes, Operating Room, 8 years

Good patient care means that I had the time to do everything possible to give patients what they needed in my 12-hour shift. It means that I could take the extra minutes to sit and talk with them and their families in order to fix a problem. It means making patients feel like they were cared for with true compassion by someone who wants to be there for them, not a paycheck.
- Rebecca Johnson, Neurology, 10 years  

Good patient care to me means touching a life in a positive way every day.
- Connie Coleman, Surgical Unit, 15 years

To me, great patient care means I can touch, on some level, the mind, body and spirit of those I care for.  I also take this holistic approach when guiding all different generations of nurses to love and appreciate the work they were called to do.
- Jennifer Anne Cockrum, The Birth Place, 17 years

Further reading

Email Article

Send "National Nurses Week: Why am I a nurse?" to a friend