By KAYLEIGH SOMMER
Wherever health care is provided, a nurse is likely to be there.
Tuesday marks the start of 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 in the field.
Nurses are being honored as leaders who improve the quality of health care. Nurses practice in diverse roles, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.
Lizeth Martinez, a registered nurse at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, said every nurse is different.
“We each have our scope of practice and me, personally, I always try to be there for my patients,” Martinez said. “From what I have seen I am very fortunate to work with the people that I do.”
Martinez, who was born and raised in Brownsville, is currently working on a graduate degree in nursing at the University of Texas at Brownsville and should be finished by next year.
She said that in the two and half years that she’s been a nurse she has gained a lot of experience.
“I love being a nurse,” Martinez said. “As nurses we care in a different way, in a compassionate and holistic manner promoting health and healing.”
However, being a nurse is not without its challenges, said Martinez, who mainly works with wound care and diabetes patients.
“I think the most challenging thing about being a nurse is the emotional aspect because we see a lot of patients that are chronically ill,” Martinez said.
Garett Byrd, a pediatric registered nurse at Harlingen Medical Center, has worked in the nursing field for nine years.
Byrd, whose parents were nurses, said the profession has changed a lot during that time.
“Over the years I’ve noticed an increase in accountability and technology,” Byrd said. “The nursing profession has moved towards a more evidenced based practice. Were not doing things just to do them, were researching and going by the research.”
He said the community should keep one thing in mind.
“The community needs to remember that we’re human beings too, and we’re here because we care,” Byrd said.
Both Martinez and Byrd said nurses are leaders in the health profession.
“I think we are leaders. The profession is so amazing because there are so many things you can do, so many fields you can go into,” Martinez said.
“As nurses were able to provide and coordinate care and think those aspects of leadership position.”
Karen A. Daley, president of the American Nurses Association, agrees.
“All nurses are leaders, whether they are in direct patient care, administrative roles or meeting consumers’ needs in new roles such as care coordinators or wellness coaches,” Daley said.
“This week, we acknowledge nurses’ vast contributions and how they are leading the way in improving health care and ultimately, the health of the nation.”
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, the ANA said.
According to the ANA, nursing is the nation’s largest health care profession, with nearly 3 million employed professionals and is projected to grow faster than all other occupations.
The federal government projects that more than 1 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2022 to fill new jobs and replace nurses who leave the profession.
Demand for nursing care will grow rapidly as Baby Boomers swell Medicare enrollment by 50 percent by 2025 and millions of individuals obtain new or better access to care under the health care reform law, the ANA said.
Source: Valley Morning Star