GUEST COLUMN: Nurses, your compassionate care is appreciated!


By Brandy Adkins, RN, Nurse Manager at Marshall Health’s departments of neurology & neurosurgery

When it comes to making a difference in the world, nurses do just that. Our jobs are not always easy, but they are very rewarding. Knowing you make a difference in someone’s life makes the job well worth it.  

Nurses have many great qualities, but the one that stands out to me is compassion. To be a great nurse, you must be able to show compassion to both patients and their families. When your paths meet, they may be going through one of the toughest and scariest times of their lives. Nurses not only take care of physical needs, they also address emotional needs. 

The Greater Good Science Center gives a great definition of compassion: “to suffer together.” It is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. No matter what type of setting you are in (hospital, outpatient clinic, home health, long-term care), we all must show compassion towards our patients and their loved ones.  

If you had asked me at 18 if nursing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I would have probably laughed and said no way. I don’t know if we pick our careers or they pick us. I was on my way to becoming an elementary school teacher, until a family friend wrecked an ATV. I was with him every step of the way until help arrived, and compassionate care came naturally. I knew then nursing was what I was born to do. I wanted to help take care of people, to help them in their toughest times, and be that smiling face to let them know things would be ok.  

I have met many great nurses in my lifetime. Several made a huge impact on my life. I learned throughout my career that you do not need a fancy title behind your name to be a great nurse. You must be compassionate, caring and advocate for your patients.  

I was 19 when I first started in healthcare. I was doing personal care services (PCS) at St. Mary’s Hospital, where I met a man who showed me what it took to be a great nurse. The late Chis Riner, PCS, was an amazing nurse. Despite not having RN (registered nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse) behind his name, he was by far one of the greatest nurses I have known. Chris made a big impact on the lives of his patients and coworkers. He taught me that you must work hard, give your patients the best care possible, and treat them as if they were family. I hope that one day I can make such an impact on my patients and coworkers as he did. I have taken these values that he helped instill in me as I have furthered my career as an RN. 

As we celebrate Nurses Month, I want to say, thank you, to all the nurses out there You are making a difference in the world. Your hard work is noticed and appreciated. 

This article was first published in the May 3 edition of The Herald-Dispatch.

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