By Anna Liza D. Fernandez, MSN, RN, CHTS
I have been a nurse for more than 20 years, working in the perioperative unit. Looking back, I know I have made a difference in the lives of my patients and families. Even though there have been many challenging moments, I have been enriched and inspired by my patients and my colleagues. Every nurse could share so many inspiring stories. When we choose nursing, we choose a path that blends science and compassion. Every minute with a patient or a colleague is an opportunity to learn, to grow and to empower ourselves and others. Nursing gives us the chance to be of service to others and provides us with priceless moments. As a nurse, even our simplest action can touch someone’s life; by doing so, we become a better person personally and professionally.
I attend the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses’ conferences because they’re an optimal setting for learning, growing and developing oneself. I’ve contributed by volunteering as a moderator, a session assistant and as the AORN chapter delegate chairwoman. I also facilitate the educational sessions and act as a guide for attendees, particularly the first-time participants — novice nurses, seasoned nurses, aspiring students and international nurses.
Having spent most of my career working in the Philippines, I thrive on the opportunities like the AORN conferences to exchange information and knowledge about nursing concepts, cultural beliefs, diversity and nursing practices. I am inspired by and take great pride in the fact that as a profession we can share with one another to improve our nursing care.
As a nurse leader, I provide care based on a simple doctrine that includes:
We can help patients, even by the smallest of gestures — by listening and making an effort to uplift someone from loneliness or from the anxiety he or she may feel while waiting for surgery.
We should always be attentive and present when interacting with other staff. Always being in a hurry in the hallways or lacking eye contact when talking to a colleague would give the impression that you don’t care. Don’t we complain when our supervisor fails to listen to us? To be an effective leader and change agent, learn to communicate sincerely. Have an open door policy and initiate a five-minute time out rule when someone wants your attention.
Everyone, no matters his or her standing in life, is important. Caring transcends any status or position in life. We should treat every patient like a VIP. Age, color, gender or cultural affiliation is not a basis for the level of caring, but a guide to provide appropriate nursing care.
Every moment is an occasion to care. All of our actions should be carried out to alleviate a person’s suffering, to promote health and prevent afflictions based on the core concept of caring.
A nurse’s passion for caring should never burn out, and this extends to colleagues. Surrounded by frustrating imperfections in healthcare systems, there are days where a pat on the back, a smile or a kind word is all we need to bounce back and appreciate the fact that we are caring nurses, and we’re here to make a difference. Let’s do this for each other.
Anna Liza D. Fernandez, MSN, RN, CHTS, is nurse manager, OR, at the Veterans Affairs West Palm Beach (Fla.) Medical Center.
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