National Nurse's Week is recognized annually during the first week of May. Each year, hospitals and other health care organizations reflect on the impact of nursing on patients. At Alliance Community Hospital, we have chosen to honor American Nurses Association's (AMA) national theme of "Nurses: Advocating, Leading and Caring." This national theme truly parallels our belief that nursing is both an art and a science.
Nursing is a science, as evidenced through the education (often continuing) which nurses complete. Their formal knowledge is applied directly every day whether via inpatient, outpatient, surgical or emergency room care ... or even in end-of-life moments. Nurses use their skill and training to provide state-of-the-art care through many different vehicles and methods and now, more than ever, many nurses are choosing to expand their scopes of practice through pursuit of both advanced degrees and the implementation of evidence-based practices.
Nursing as an art is really a concept synonymous with the "nursing through your heart." It refers to those occurrences to which nurses stand witness thousands of times each day all across our country -- little snapshots of care that are often overlooked by the masses: precious instances such as a compassionate word of encouragement, a gentle reassuring hand, a brief conversation explaining treatments and/or care expectations, or even tears shed during times of loss. These are often publicly unseen moments, but they are very real and very profound to patients. They are the little flashes of time which occur constantly thanks to dedicated tireless care of nurses at the bedside.
Learning about the medical complexities involved in both wellness and illness is a special talent nurses acquire. They receive special training in one or more areas of clinical/medical care. Conversely, it is impossible to teach a nurse about the very visceral and compassionate side of nursing; this is a trait which comes from within and is one of the hallmarks of nursing. Great nurses have an equal balance of clinical ability and compassionate caregiving skills.
I am proud to be a nurse and even more proud of the nurses of Alliance Community Hospital. Our Planetree philosophy of patient-centered care guides our culture, which emphasizes putting the patient's needs and preferences above all else.
Amy Antonacci, RN, BSN, is the vice president of patient services at Alliance Community Hospital.