The Brotherhood of Nursing

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The Brotherhood of Nursing

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One of the unique aspects of nursing is its remarkable diversity of specialization and career options. No less diverse are the men who have chosen to join the profession. There is no “typical male nurse,” whether in role, education or background. As we see in this article, men work in every conceivable nursing area, from the emergency department to flight nursing to patient education to the PICU.

The paths that lead men to nursing are equally varied. Some are trained in the military (where a third of nurses are men). Some have embraced nursing as a second career while others are motivated by a desire to serve the communities in which they were raised. All share the qualities that define the nursing profession: compassion, clinical excellence and the desire to heal.

In the following article, we talk to a cross-section of the “brotherhood” about their unique nursing experience.  ➻

 

David Rice, RN, Ph.D., NP

Director, Professional Practice and Education
City of Hope National Medical Center
Specialties | Hematology, Oncology Nursing

David Rice City of HopeIt has been said that nursing is one career with a thousand professions. This is a concept that David Rice appreciates. He notes the numerous opportunities and directions a nursing career can take: practice, research, education, management/leadership and compliance/regulation; legal, public sector or private sector.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

First, as a practitioner, I was a very good direct care nurse and nurse practitioner. Having had the ability to connect with patients and experience what Jean Watson calls the “transpersonal moment” was possibly the most satisfying experience I have had as a nurse.
As my career moves into management and leadership, I hope that I continue to foster that human connection and experience by educating incoming generations of nurses.

Secondly, I have had the distinct pleasure of mentoring and advancing the careers of many people coming into the nursing profession, including allied health professionals such as research study assistants; people from other professions (business, social services and others); and of course nurses at many levels advancing their education and careers (including associate degree to bachelor’s; master’s; and preparation for doctoral degrees — Ph.D., Ed.D. or DNP). This has always been a rich and satisfying experience.

What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

Continued focus on outcomes. Appreciating the dangers to patients of hospital-acquired infections and complications and working to improve care to reduce these potential negative outcomes. We are engaged in a hospital-wide evaluation of care coordination and improving transitions in care.

Oncology care is very complex and more and more, it is delivered in ambulatory care areas. The patient is often left to be his or her own care coordinator. We are looking to formalize, at the disease management level, the role of the oncology RN care coordinator.

What are some of the unique contributions that you bring to the role of nurse?

If I embody some of the hallmark contributions of the nursing profession in my role, then they are not unique. I hope, though, that I bring caring, compassion and kindness to all with whom I interact. I hope this has a positive impact on the nurses for whom my department provides professional education and on the patients and families who are the recipients of the nurses’ care.

I hope that I contribute perspective, thoughtfulness and a reasoned approach to problem-solving. I hope that I empower my staff and nurses at City of Hope to think critically and act intentionally. I hope that I engender a humanistic and holistic approach to nursing care and to our interpersonal interactions and communication.

 

Aaron Beltran White MemorialAaron Beltran, RN, CCRN

Intensive Care Unit
White Memorial Medical Center

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Aaron Beltran feels it is an honor to serve the community through his work.

What do you love most about nursing?

Unlike any other profession, nursing allows you to build relationships with people when they are most in need of help. The dynamic of that relationship is truly unique and leads to interactions that are genuinely sincere. The “thank yous” I receive while performing my duties as a nurse have been the most heart-swelling and humbling experiences of my life.

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

My goal was always to be an ER nurse, but during an interview for an ER position, the interviewer convinced me that I might be a more natural fit for the ICU. My military background required strict attention to detail and she felt that ICU nurses operate best in that type of environment. I was very nervous about starting a career in the wrong unit, but I chose the ICU and have never looked back. 

What should be done to attract more men to the profession?

In the Navy, I was ridiculed for saying that my goal was to be a nurse. There is a stigma attached to male nurses that will take work to overcome. More men will become nurses because of the job security it provides, but the real attraction will be the job satisfaction that comes from working with people. Encouraging early volunteerism in boys is a great way to increase the male presence in the profession.

 

Andy Aure of Valley PresbyterianAndy Aure, RN, MSN

Nurse Manager, Telemetry Unit
Valley Presbyterian Hospital

Working in an underserved community, Andy Aure witnessed people contracting preventable diseases because they lacked the education and means to take care of their health.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

Obtaining my MSN was a notable accomplishment for me. As a foreign graduate nurse, I wanted to advance my education. However, the prospect of working full time while studying was daunting. It took me 15 years to decide to return to school to attain a master’s degree. As a full-time director of a telemetry/med-surg unit, I had to work diligently to balance my work and school commitments.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Empowering nurses in the decision-making process improves the collaboration of nurses within a team. Nurses provide valuable information and recommendations about quality care because they are at the forefront of actual patient care. Allowing nurses to speak and share their experience helps to bring about the appropriate competency and education needed within multidisciplinary units.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?

Nurses are in a unique position to touch the lives of sick and healthy people alike. Faced with the complex medical needs of patients, nurses lead with their hearts, regardless of the patient’s race, gender, sexuality or payment status.
Nurses are respected by the public because so many people have witnessed how nurses manage the clinical and psychosocial aspects of care while advocating for the rights and safety of their patients.

 

Richard Murray of Redlands Community HospitalRichard Murray, RN

Telemetry
Redlands Community Hospital

Richard Murray believes that everyone who works in nursing brings a unique perspective to the profession. We need nurses from all walks of life because we have patients from all walks of life.

What do you love most about nursing?

It is a great feeling to go home at the end of a long day and know that because of your hard work, a patient’s life was saved, a patient and their family were comforted during a difficult time or a patient was kept comfortable and peaceful during their last hours.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

When I was asked to start training as a charge nurse, I was honored. Our charge nurses are awesome, so to know that my manager and educator thought that I had the same qualities made me very proud. I have a ton of respect for my management team and the fact that they had faith that I could perform in that role made me a more confident nurse.

How did you choose your specialty?

I was hired to work on telemetry and I quickly realized that our unit was very versatile. I had the opportunity to work on teams with up to eight patients. I was also able to work with very critical and complex patients on ventilators and vasopressors because we work so closely with ICU. I have benefited greatly from working with such a diverse patient population.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession?

The nurse and the patient both have the same goal at the end of the day: to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient. No other profession is based on caring for people when they are at their most vulnerable. It is the nurse at the bedside who is able to connect and impact patients’ lives.


David Poelstra Hollywood PresbyterianDavid Polstra, RN

Clinical Educator, ICU
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

When he’s not in the ICU, David Polstra enjoys studying languages and performing music. He believes developing himself as a whole person contributes to his growth as a nurse.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

The leadership role of relief nursing supervisor has taught me many interpersonal skills and enhanced my critical thinking and prioritization abilities. I get to orchestrate harmony of patient flow between units as well as interdisciplinary cooperation.

Currently, what excites me is the thought of continually raising the bar of the quality of nursing care delivered by our staff as well as growing our staff professionally.

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I like caring for the sickest patients found in the critical care units. When you observe patients improving, it provides you with a sense of satisfaction and pride in your vocation. Currently, as a clinical educator for the ICU, I feel I can impact more than just the patients that are assigned to me. By expanding the educational knowledge base and improving the clinical practice of our ICU nurses, I impact more patients than just the two I would have as a bedside nurse.

Do you feel men are directed towards some specialties and away from others during their nursing rotations?

Yes. As a nursing student, I felt that it was more acceptable to be either a med-surg, ED or ICU nurse. Labor & delivery, ob-gyn, and mother/ baby were definitely female-dominated areas; most of my male fellow students also verbalized being uncomfortable in those areas. As male nursing students, we were also limited to what we could do and observe in the L&D, ob-gyn and mother/baby units.

 

David Schmidt Childrens Hospital Los AngelesDavid R. Schmidt, RN, MSN, CNS, CPNP

Clinical Manager, PICU
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

In nursing school 40 years ago, David Schmidt knew that he wanted to work in the PICU. To this day, he still finds it a satisfying challenge to care for the most critical young patients and their families.

What do you love most about nursing?

We can always make a difference, whether in comforting a dying child or a family member, teaching the latest in skin cancer prevention, trying to institute the most current literature on infection control or just listening to the staff about their concerns. It’s a joy to come to work.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

In recent years, I have instructed, instituted protocols and written policy for nurses in the PICU for hemofiltration, in which they have become the experts. I’m running a nurse-led hemofiltration program in which lifesaving treatment occurs almost seamlessly.

Some men feel they are directed towards some specialties and away from others during their nursing rotations. Was that your experience?

As a student in the ‘70s, I came across resistance due to societal norms. Ob-gyn was a hard rotation for the nursing instructors, who had to intervene frequently on my behalf. Some hospitals were not accepting of men in the role of nursing. I actually had one hospital tell me, “We only utilize male nurses in orthopedics.”

 

Herbert Villafuerte, RN, MBA, CEN, CCRN

Chief Nursing Officer, Garfield Medical Center
Specialties | Emergency and Critical Care­

Herbert Villafuerte Garfield MedicalHerbert Villafuerte migrated from Guatemala to the U.S. at the age of 15 with his three brothers. He put himself through nursing school while working a 12-hour night shift as an EMT and going to school during the day. He didn’t stop after earning his RN license, but at great sacrifice was able to continue on to complete his MBA. He says that as a first-generation immigrant, “I refused to let the odds beat me, which motivated me to higher aspirations.”


Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

I am most proud of becoming a chief nursing officer. Early in my career, I chose to take the management route with hopes of becoming a director of critical care. Once I reached that goal, my next one was the CNO role. I am very proud for someone with my background to be in the role I am.

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I am most passionate about emergency care because you are able to see immediate results of your efforts. I worked in pre-hospital care prior to becoming a nurse, so it was an easy choice for me to continue in the outpatient setting.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Nurses must facilitate open communication, which may be lacking in the hospital environment.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?

Being in the hospital going through a personal crisis is a very personal and intimate situation. It is vital to have someone at the bedside with the clinical, spiritual and professional knowledge to help resolve such a crisis. Nursing provides that.


Jeff Ganz, RN

Telemetry, DOU, ICU
St. Vincent Medical Center

As a young man, Jeff Ganz volunteered in the ER and witnessed the interaction between patients and the medical staff. He was intrigued and decided to become a nurse.

What do you love most about nursing?

I love interacting with patients and their families and working together to make the patients’ hospital experience a positive one. Also, working independently in extremely stressful situations always provides a sense of accomplishment.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Nurses need to be patient advocates and be more assertive with others to ensure that patient needs are met.

Why do you think that nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?
It is a profession that requires a person to be honest, have a great work ethic and have a passion for caring.


John Melchor Barlow HospitalJohn Patrick Melchor, RN, MSN candidate

Clinical Nurse Leader, Med-Surg, Telemetry
Barlow Respiratory Hospital

John Melchor believes that a positive attitude and a sense of humor can go a long way towards relieving the stress that nurses face. He loves working at a long-term care hospital so he can get to know his patients and follow their progress.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

I suppose the greatest accomplishment would have to be my time as a preceptor to new nurses. Several of the new RNs that I have precepted have moved on to other facilities, but to know that they’ve grown and are succeeding based on what I taught them brings me a great sense of pride. One preceptee who went to County/USC came by to visit and said that his new hospital had high praise for his skills and knowledge. He attributed much of that to what I had taught him. The words that followed probably made me the most proud of what I’ve done: He was told, “He’s good — you had a great preceptor.”

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I suppose, as with many new nurses in the past couple of years, my specialty chose me. With the influx of new graduate nurses over the past decade, jobs were sparse and the abundance of nurses was growing. I was given a job opportunity and I took it.
While most would not consider telemetry or med-surg a specialty, I’ve made a little niche for myself here. I’ve made it my own and attempted to excel at what I do in every way possible.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Positive communication. I often feel that communication is lacking between team members. More often than not, people don’t speak their minds. I feel like many nurses internalize a lot of their emotion and don’t communicate properly, resulting in passive-aggressive acts, which ultimately affect teamwork. In our line of work, there is little room for ego and resentment. Essentially, we are all here for one purpose and that’s to improve and save lives.

 

Markus Acosta Methodist HospitalMarkus Acosta, RN, BSN, RCIS

Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Methodist Hospital of Southern California

Markus Acosta tries to comfort patients with his sense of humor and by taking an interest in them personally. “I think of how I’d want to be treated if I were in their position,” he says.


How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I chose to specialize in the cardiac cath lab because of the great blend of technology and direct patient care. The technological advances keep me on my toes and I enjoy the challenge of staying up to date on the latest techniques and equipment. I also value caring for patients and enjoy interacting with them and their families.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

The best way to improve collaboration is to enhance communication. When everyone on the team respects each others’ personal and professional goals, then everyone feels valued and appreciated. This fosters a great environment in which patient care can then be the top priority. This is not only true within a specific department, but is essential throughout the hospital.

What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

In our cath lab, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of care through continuing education and collection of quality control data. I am very proud to be part of a team of professionals working together in a cath lab that enjoys a favorable reputation within the cardiac community.

 

JP Joson St. Francis Medical CenterJohn Paul Joson, RN, MSN, CNS

Educator, Emergency Department
St. Francis Medical Center

John Paul Joson says working in the ED reminds him of the famous Forrest Gump line: “Life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.” He enjoys the heightened anticipation of not knowing what’s coming through the doors, but reacting quickly and professionally in the moment.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

Receiving the DAISY Award for the Q.I. and P.I. improvement of our sepsis initiative here at St. Francis Medical Center.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

I believe in being open with everything and not holding anything back. Talk to your peers, whomever they may be (e.g., EVS, radiology, unit secretaries, LVNs, EMTs), and make them feel wanted within the group.

What are some of the unique contributions that you bring to the role of nurse?

As a CNS, I bring new and inventive ways of creating visual tools to increase staff awareness of certain disease processes, which in turn increases performance and quality within the emergency department. I am always trying to come up with creative new solutions to old problems.


Stacy Douglas, RN, BSN

Stroke and Telemetry
St. Francis Medical Center

Stacy Douglas came to nursing as a second career, inspired by his wife, who has been a nurse for 24 years. Although she already has an MSN, they will both return to school this spring to pursue MSN/MBA degrees.

What do you love most about nursing?

Of course I love helping people. Beyond that, I really like the challenge of not knowing what the day holds once you punch in — not knowing if you have a set of really critical patients, stable patients or a mix of both. I love knowing I made a difference at some point for the patient or patient’s family. Giving comfort and making someone feel at ease is one of the daily pleasures I look forward to.

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

Well, I believe my specialty chose me. When I would apply for jobs in nursing, I was looking to work in the ER. The hospitals were only hiring ER nurses with ER experience. So, my first job in nursing came on the telemetry floor and then the DOU.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?

It takes a very special person to be a nurse. I’ve always thought that nurses are some of the smartest individuals around. When we’re with our patients and their families, they open up to us, they connect with us, they trust us and it shows in polls.


Edwin Abiog Casa Colina HospitalEdwin Abiog, RN, CRRN

Inpatient Rehabilitation Wing
Casa Colina Hospital

Edwin Abiog feels blessed that he has the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Being a nurse gives him a sense of
accomplishment that goes well beyond just being a paid employee.


What do you like most about your nursing specialty?

I started work at Casa Colina Hospital, which helped me realize the importance of rehabilitation, which is a specialty all its own. Working in this area is so rewarding because you get to know your patients over the long term. It is wonderful to see their progress each day.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

At Casa Colina, we truly have an interdisciplinary team model. Each day, we meet with members of the PT, OT, speech, respiratory  and physician teams to discuss goals and the progress of each patient. The nurse is in a unique position to advocate for the patient and notify the team of barriers to meeting the goals. We need to mentor our younger nurses and help them find their voices so that they can develop these skills. I think experienced nurses need to set the example of what true collaboration looks like.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession year after year in polls?

People understand that we are always here for our patients, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (and add another day for leap year!). Nurses are always at the bedside providing patient care, improving function and quality of life.


Capt. Erwin B. San Pedro, RN, BSN, NC, CMSRN

Element Chief, Family Medicine Residency Clinic
David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base

Capt San Pedro USAFUSAF Capt. Erwin San Pedro encourages nurses to join a professional organization, such as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN), to overcome some of the unique gender challenges men in nursing face, including role strain, isolation and sexual stereotyping. Belonging to such an organization, he says, “is a great source of support and strength.”

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I chose med-surg as my nursing specialty because it is the foundation of all nursing practice. I learned how to manage up to eight patients plus the ones I admit and discharge throughout the day. I became proficient in performing assessments and administering care, treatments and medications. The work is challenging, but definitely rewarding.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

When I was deployed as a flight nurse in 2010, I provided care for and evacuated 238 sick or wounded airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines to higher levels of care. I am truly proud of that accomplishment.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

I believe that mastering interpersonal skills, learning to value and manage diversity and developing constructive conflict resolution skills can improve collaboration within the team.
 
What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

As the nurse manager in the family medicine residency clinic, I try to create a positive work culture and lead with care and compassion. I make every effort to talk to all my nurses every day, ask them how they are doing and find out if there is anything I can do for them.

Furthermore, I try to mentor and teach my nurses the art of good “customer service.” As a result, our nurses are more courteous and sincere and they learn how to be good listeners so that they can better identify and anticipate their patients’ needs. According to a recent survey, patients in our clinic remain satisfied and complaints regarding patient care are decreasing.

 

Manu Awal Glendale AdventistManu Awal, RN, BSN, PHN

Cardiac Telemetry Unit
Glendale Adventist Medical Center

Manu Awal is a brand-new nurse who believes he made the right career choice. He loves to connect with people and hopes that his ability to engage in “therapeutic communication” with patients will allow him to excel as a nurse.
 
What do you love most about nursing?

One of the most attractive aspects is the ability to meet with many different people every shift. You have the opportunity for conversations with people of different cultures, age groups and religions.

Beyond that, I would say that the relationships we create with coworkers, doctors and, most importantly, our patients are what keep me coming back each day. The sense of satisfaction I feel when a patient gets well and goes home is a very humbling experience.
The simple fact that a 12-hour shift usually seems more like a six-hour shift is another thing that helps me enjoy this profession.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

There’s no memory sweeter than the evening of Oct. 10, 2013, the moment I learned that I had passed the NCLEX. It was the moment of realization that I had left the life of a student and, finally at the age of 22, was on the threshold of entering professional life. No other moment to date has brought me more pride or joy.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Actively assisting coworkers during a shift — when possible — is one very productive way. During busy shifts, teamwork can reduce stress among the staff. It gives you peace of mind to know that you can always count on someone to assist you. In my area of specialty, we are making strides in reducing falls and the incidence of new pressure ulcers. Ours is a very efficient team and that teamwork, along with the technology, is a strong driving force in improving patient care.
 

Matthew Poore KaiserMatthew Poore, RN

Emergency Department
Kaiser Permanente, Ontario

Matthew Poore has had a varied nursing career that has included flight nursing, trauma, cardiac and neuro ICU, telemetry/stepdown, operating room/recovery and critical care ground transport. He currently works in the emergency department.
 
Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

One of my biggest accomplishments was becoming a flight nurse. My mother was an ER nurse, my father a paramedic and my stepmother a flight nurse. I can still remember when I was in grade school and my stepmother landed a helicopter on the P.E. field during career day. I told myself, “One day, that’ll be me.”

I focused my career on trauma and critical care so that one day I could be in the helicopter, too. Twenty years later, I was getting my “wings” as a flight nurse. I even landed at a grade school for career day and hopefully inspired a future flight nurse.
 
How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I chose my specialty because I was basically born into the ER life. As I stated earlier, my whole family worked in ER settings, so I grew up with dinner conversations about CT scans and death. I can’t remember our going to see a doctor unless we were near death ourselves. I liked that my parents seemed to be able to handle just about anything they encountered.

When I was 15, I volunteered in the ER and quickly changed from wanting to be a pediatrician to wanting to become an ER nurse. The emergency nurses seemed to be respected by every department in the hospital — even the doctors seemed to do what they said. I'm already an adrenaline junkie, so the life of the ER nurse seemed to go hand-in-hand with my desire for thrills and excitement.
People don't want to come to the emergency room, but they come to us when they're sick and don’t know where else to go. No day is the same: I love that one day I can have a 12-hour shift and only see four patients and the next day barely have a chance to grab a snack because things are so busy.

I love the challenge of needing to be prepared for anything that might come through the door next.

What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

Nurses in my area are improving patient care by getting more involved in committees and speaking up. When management wants to implement a new workflow, nurses are heavily involved. In our department, the collaboration between doctors and nurses is excellent.
As more of our nurses go back to school, they often do projects within our department. Some of those have had a big impact on our practice. For example, one nurse did a study regarding admission delays, which helped us identify what areas we need to focus on when a patient is admitted.

We found that some delays were happening because the floor nurses were being assigned a new patient before their old ones were transferred off the floor or discharged, causing those nurses to be out of ratio. We changed the process so that an additional patient couldn't be assigned until the nurse was at ratio. That way, the floor nurses wouldn’t feel rushed or miss out on important discharge instructions and the ER wouldn’t be constantly calling for updates.
 

Richard Ward White MemorialRichard J. Ward, RN, BSN, MSN candidate

Simulation Center Coordinator/Education & Training Specialist
White Memorial Medical Center

Richard Ward has found his calling working as an educator in the sim lab. He loves to see the residents get excited about simulation and have those “ah ha” moments of understanding. He is currently pursuing his MSN degree with an education emphasis because, he says, “In nursing and in life, you never stop learning.”

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

Communication is key to any improvement. Clear and concise communication allows the individual to understand and anticipate the needs of the team. Often, we are so focused on our individual tasks that we fail to recognize the bigger picture.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?

At one time or another, almost every person has interacted with a nurse. As advocates for our patients, we often put their needs in front of our own. We delay our breaks or meals because we want to be there for our patients. This is why nursing is so respected: because nurses sacrifice to make sure our patients’ time in the hospital is as pain-free and enjoyable as possible.

What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

The RN educators here are dedicated and passionate about continually improving patient safety. For example, we are working closely with the mock code blue (cardio-respiratory arrest) committee to develop a hospital-wide initiative. We have added state-of-the-art high-fidelity simulation so that our medical staff can confidently assess and intervene during a code blue. Our pediatric mock code blues are done every two weeks and we have seen great improvement in many areas just after a month!

 

Sinval DePaulaSinval DePaula, RN, BSN, PHN

Oncology
Dignity Northridge Medical Center

How did you choose your nursing specialty?

I decided to become an oncology nurse when my grandmother passed away of cancer. I knew one day I would get my nursing degree and care for patients with cancer. I wanted to be there to hold their hands during those difficult times when the side effects from the treatments start to come in waves and you have no one else around to comfort you.

What do you love most about nursing?

I absolutely love what I do. I always come to work with a smile on my face and have great positive energy throughout my 12-hour shift. I also strongly believe that my compassion for others makes a difference.

Which of your nursing accomplishments makes you the most proud?

That would be an experience I had with one lovely 89-year-old lady — I’ll call her “Mrs. K.” — with a stage IV pressure ulcer that had developed in the nursing home she came from. A previous RN had described the patient and family as being difficult. The patient would scream and cry every time anyone would touch her.

However, when I first came in to take care of her, Mrs. K. would just smile and follow my directions with no hesitation. Even during the dressing changes I had to do, she would allow me to go on with my work so I could clean the wound and change the dressing.
Every time I came back to work, the family requested me to be the RN to take care of their beloved mother because they thought she was comfortable with me. I was very pleased to later see that her wound had significantly decreased in size with all the great teamwork applied to her plan of care.

What can nurses do to improve collaboration within their teams?

I believe that communication is the key. It leads to better knowledge and understanding of the plan of care, empowering nurses to offer educated suggestions and improve the patient’s status and experience safely and efficaciously.
We also do bedside reporting during the change of shift, which is a great initiative to improve patient care because patients are always encouraged to participate and give their input on the plan of care.

What are some of the ways nurses are improving patient care in your area?

At the hospital where I work, we are all encouraged to seek higher education and consequently improve our patient care. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe that education is essential to the evolution of the nursing profession.
 

Stephen Kalb City of Los AngelesStephen R. Kalb, RN, BSN

Nurse Manager, Occupational Nurse and Correctional Care
City of Los Angeles

Stephen Kalb says his greatest career accomplishment has been starting up a healthcare and safety support network for a school district.

What do you love most about nursing? What feeds your spirit?

What I love most is that the world of nursing has endless possibilities. Becoming a registered nurse is only the first step in an amazing journey. Each person who makes the nursing journey must first decide if nursing will be a job, a career or a lifelong passion.
The biggest feeder to my spirit is watching growth in young minds and providing the tools young nurses need to grow.

Some men feel they are directed towards some specialties and away from others during their nursing rotations. Was that your experience?

No. I found my instructors were open to allowing nurses to explore all rotations. I was very fortunate to go through nursing school with a large group of men who were following their passion for caring for people. We had come from all kinds of different backgrounds and worked with our instructors to open doors to educational possibilities.

Why do you think nursing ranks as the most respected profession in polls year after year?

For the right person, nursing is the total package: You are parent, caregiver, active and passive listener, guide, drill instructor and teacher. In my mind, only one other career can say it has the same qualities, and that is being an educator.

“I think that as long as nursing continues to provide a rewarding career with good pay, a good schedule and countless growth opportunities, the gender gap will continue to close.”  —Stephen R. Kalb

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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