A WORTHWHILE LIFE: 6 KEY WAYS NURSES IMPACT THE WORLD
Like any job, your work as a travel nurse is bound to have its ups and downs.
There will be days when all your patients are receptive, your team jibes like a well-oiled machine and you absolutely love your job. There will also be days when you’re exhausted, discouraged and perhaps even questioning why you got into nursing in the first place.
On the challenging days, however, you can always fall back on one key principle: You’re making a positive impact in people’s lives. In a recent Medscape survey, 94% of RNs in the U.S. confirmed they’re glad they became nurses — and the top reason cited was the ability to make a difference.
“While all caregivers are extremely important and provide innumerable benefits, nurses, in particular, provide a variety and an intense level of care that has contributed to the overall well-being of our society,” notes one article from Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. “The importance of nursing can't be overstated.”
Aside from the direct health benefits nurses provide on a regular basis, here are other ways nurses make a positive impact in our society.
Advocacy. Many nurses represent patients and/or the healthcare community by working with local, state and federal authorities, labor unions, trade groups and others to change regulations, improve access to services, monitor health trends and risks, stage educational campaigns and plan events. “Nurses advocate for appropriate treatment protocols, safe medication administration policies, timely symptom management and needed consultations with specialty services,” notes RN Billy Rosa in the Huffington Post. “On a national level they advocate for safe staffing ratios, legislation that ensures equitable care delivery for all Americans and environmental justice.”
Quality control. Responsibility for maintaining high standards of care often falls on nurses. As a group, they quadruple the number of physicians practicing in the U.S. and make up the biggest expense on hospital payrolls, according to Rosa. “Nurses and their contributions are vital components of any reliable health care organization striving for zero patient harm and quality care,” he writes.
Support of human dignity. Nurses are frequently the enforcers of measures ensuring that cultural, ethnic, gender and privacy considerations are respected and professional standards are maintained. “To nurses, you are not just a bed number or diagnosis,” writes Rosa. “Coaching is fundamental to nursing practice and promotes partnership in health care, in stark contrast to more traditional and paternalistic approaches to the provider-patient exchange.” That may help explain why nurses are so highly trusted; in fact, 85% of Americans have ranked the profession No. 1 in honesty and ethics over 15 of the past 16 years.
Teaching. In many cases nurses educate student nurses or talk to groups or communities of people about health and safety issues and access to healthcare. They’re so in demand among U.S. postsecondary institutions that jobs for nursing instructors are expected to grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. “A lot of the same traits and skills are needed for teaching as they are for nursing,” nurse educator Allyson Hopperstad recently told Rasmussen.edu.
Alleviation of suffering. Nurses are on the front lines of efforts to alleviate physical, mental and emotional suffering among all people. They’re often able to calm patients’ fears and anxieties as they undergo medical procedures, face death or long-term illness or cope with similar tragedies among their loved ones. Nurses also represent the only 24-7 hands-on healthcare at any given medical facility.
Innovation. Through history (think Florence Nightingale), nurses have helped conceive and create healthcare improvements that have made major impacts on patient outcomes. They also help conduct clinical studies and participate in other key medical research.