2011 Winning Essay

2011 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to answer the following: Which of the attributes of the nurses who appear in the film would you like to emulate - and why?

Malgorzata Kurczak

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL

Nursing is a dimension of care that I believe is greatly underappreciated but yet fundamental to a patient’s care. As nurses, we strive to create a friendship with our patients and go above and beyond to do our best. While watching the inspirational film titled, A Nurse I Am, two nurses really stood out to me – Bob Wilkinson and Mona Counts. Their courage, humor, and dedication are the attributes that I would most like to emulate and wish to gain during my nursing career.

I believe that both of the nurses in the film hold these attributes but each one displays them in their own way. Take for instance, Bob Wilkinson – the pediatric oncology nurse who shows an immense amount of courage taking care of sick children day after day. Not only does Wilkinson show courage as a nurse, but as a male nurse in a profession that is viewed predominately as feminine. He truly has inspired me to appreciate the male nurses that I currently work with at my clinical rotations. Even though these children are suffering, he still strives to give the best care possible by providing comfort and support through humor. This is an attribute that I hope I can achieve when I begin my career as a nurse because technology and pharmacology can only do so much. As nurses, we perform care at the beside and should be advocates in whatever dimension best suits our patients’ health, a dedication that he portrays be involving that parents in their child’s care and by providing emotional support.

Dedication is the attribute that Mona Counts demonstrates continuously throughout the film. If a patient is not able to attend her clinic, she drives out to the patient’s home to perform care or arranges home health to be provided. To her, it is not the cost or the inconvenience that is of importance –it is the dedication as a Nurse Practitioner to promote awareness and prevent disease. Her dedication inspires me to be just as devoted to helping others and to make a difference in y city as well. Not only does she show dedication, but extreme courage to take out a second mortgage on her home so that she could open a clinic to serve over 5,000 underserved patients. I do not know of many health care professionals that would be willing to exert that kind of commitment and put others needs before theirs. Like Wilkinson, she too uses humor during her assessments to acquire information about her patient’s well-being and determine the necessary line of care. Laughter and humor help her elderly patients connect wither not only on a professional level but on a friendship level as well. As Counts’ daughter stated, “…the phone rings, you know, nine times out of ten, it’s a patient. If it’s not a patient, it’s a friend but the friend still has questions with regards to their health: Her last name truly portrays her actions –she can be counted upon for support whenever, wherever, as well as under any circumstances and as we all know, actions speak louder than words. You have to be counted on by your patients as well as your fellow nurses and I plan to be relied upon and encourage patient advocacy whenever possible.

Bob Wilkinson, Mona Counts, Ardis Bush and Angela Bytheway really demonstrate that nursing is not merely a job – it is a way of life. When your friends or family members say, “I have a rough day at work,” their work day does not compare to a nurse’s. Unlike a theatre or communications major, nurses hold lives of patients in their hands and must understand the dynamics involved behind their care. This is portrayed by all the nurses in the film because they truly are heroes and their hands perform miracles everyday. I believe it is an honor to have patients look at you and to see it in their eyes that you care and that they are grateful for all your help. Textbooks can teach you all about the fundamentals and skills needed in nursing but without desire and compassion, it all becomes useless. Nurses choose a path that is inspirational and rewarding which continues to help us advocate for our patients.

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