2008 Winning Essays

2008 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: In 750 words or less, how did “A Nurse I Am” change or enhance your perception of nursing as a career? Using one of the nurses on the film as a role model, explain why someone should pursue nursing as a career.

Angela Sweers

Hope College

Update 2/26/2009

As of right now I am in my first semester of my senior year, and just finishing completing my peds clinical. I am looking forward to my final semester, passing the NCLEX and entering the workforce. I then plan on returning to grad school to obtain my MSN and Nurse Practitioner's License!

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Winning Essay

Nursing: A Career of Compassionate Heroism

Viewing A Nurse I Am enhances my perception of nursing as a career of compassionate heroism. Compassion in nursing and as a career is expressed not only through caring for the patient with benevolent and whole-hearted concern, but also sincerely getting to know each patient, by communicating effectively with them, being a provider of information, and by being a good patient advocate. Compassion also encompasses being a lifelong learner so that the nurse can provide the best to date care, and taking care of oneself as a nurse so that the nurse can in turn provide top care for the patient. Compassion is a multidimensional characteristic; much like nursing is a multidimensional career in which a nurse must provide proper medical care while helping each patient cope with their illness. It is when all holistic aspects of compassionate nursing care are provided to the patient that the true nursing career is underway; a career of compassionate heroism, in which the nurse becomes a hero in the eyes of their patient.

Bob Wilkinson is a prime example of compassionate heroism in the nursing career. A Nurse I Am filmed Bob performing everyday nursing responsibilities while displaying characteristics of compassion to each of his patients. He knew each of his patient’s likes and dislikes, as displayed when he chose “soldiers” for one of his young, male patients to play with. He provided educational information to each of his patient’s parents, while also showing sincere concern for the parent’s well-being. When one of his older oncology patients was depressed, he effectively communicated with her while taking time to sit on her bed and talk to her about the emotions she was feeling while he did his best to focus her thoughts elsewhere as he tried to cheer her up. The father of one of his pediatric patients stated, “Bob takes care of his patients as if they were his own children, he just always went the extra mile to make sure things were good…Bob made the hospital feel like a home away from home.” In making each child’s stay in the hospital more desirable and comfortable, Bob performs a heroic act for the patient and their family. He has successfully made his profession of nursing a career of compassionate heroism.

Heroism is often portrayed as soldiers fighting overseas for their country, and firefighters rushing into blazing, smoke-filled buildings to rescue trapped victims. The word hero brings to mind men in capes, leaping from tall buildings and halting trains to save a damsel in distress. But heroes come in all shapes, sizes and forms. The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines a hero as a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal. While nursing may not be the most apparent and obvious profession of heroism, its qualities often define a hero. Just as Bob Wilkinson is a hero within his work field because he is referred to as a model and mentor in his nursing profession, so too can others become heroes through displaying compassion within their own nursing career. Pursuing a nursing career can be synonymous with pursuing a career of heroism if all aspects of compassionate, holistic nursing care are met. Therefore, an individual who actively displays compassion, and has the desire to help others while encouraging them through some of the hardest circumstances of their lives, should consider pursuing nursing as a career. As A Nurse I Am states, “While you may not receive awards, you are your patient’s heroes. That makes you heroes to your nation and us.” With the correct dosage of kindness, communication, knowledge, and sincere concern for the patient’s well-being the nursing profession can be developed into a career of compassionate heroism.

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