Above Image: Grady nurses serve as caregivers, teachers and advocates for patients. Hospital nurses have the perfect platform to hone leadership skills and effect great change in our healthcare communities and beyond.
By Dr. Rhonda Scott
While it comes as no surprise to me, some may be interested to learn that nurses rank as the most honest and ethical of all healthcare professionals – and not just this year, but for the 15th year in a row. A recent Gallup poll shows that 84 percent of Americans rank nurses as high or very high in honesty and ethical standards – a statistic that should make all care providers proud.
As the Chief Operating Officer for Grady Health System and an R.N. myself, I know the stresses and rewards of the profession. I watch our incredible nurses experience both – stress and rewards – each day. I am proud of the work they’re doing, and how nurses are helping shape the future of medicine and care.
Constantly serving on the “front line” and oftentimes the first to respond to the needs of patients, nurses shoulder many responsibilities, making us keenly aware of the day-to-day operations of their healthcare facilities. I believe this broad perspective of care paired with a strong connection to administrative responsibility gives nurses the perfect platform to hone leadership skills and effect even greater change in our healthcare communities and beyond.
Nurses are, first and foremost, caregivers. We assess patients and determine what level of care is needed. We work with medical teams to coordinate care that ensures patients’ needs and preferences are met. We help patients navigate an oftentimes unfamiliar world of hospital visits, procedures and rehabilitative care.
Nurses are teachers. In assessing a patient’s physical needs, we also evaluate what he or she understands, and how we can best help patients learn more about their health. The best way to ensure positive treatment and promote future health is to partner with patients – the more he or she feels comfortable with what’s going on, the more likely it is that the patient will be able to continue treatment and heal.
Nurses are also advocates. It’s one of the most inspiring and yet heaviest responsibilities of nursing. We advocate daily for the appropriate treatment and timely management of patients’ pain or symptoms. On a national level, nurses advocate for stronger practices and smarter policies that enable us to help patients and elevate our own standards of quality care.
As caregivers, teachers and advocates, we are naturally community-minded, and our impact spans inside and outside of the medical profession. In fact, more than 15,000 nurses work as first responders with the American Red Cross during times of natural and man-made disasters, providing emergency medical support to survivors who need it most. Many more are committed to the mission of improving public health and creating greater access to healthcare for all Americans, providing much-needed education, direction and support to grassroots efforts.
This commitment investment is mirrored by activists and volunteers across the country. Community leaders and those dedicated to nonprofit work are oftentimes the first responders for communities in need – combating food insecurity, limited access to early childhood education and barriers of poverty. They advocate for those in need of life-changing services, just as nurses are advocates for those in need of life-saving care.
On April 21, I’ll join other women leaders in Atlanta as a speaker at the 3rd Junior League of Atlanta’s Annual Women’s Leadership Forum. I invite you to join us as we discuss tips and techniques to make you a more effective leader and advocate at work and in your community. You’ll be surrounded by passion-driven women who’ve walked in your shoes, and will learn more about yourself, your city and your impact potential – trust me, I’m a nurse.