Nurses make a difference

May is National Nurses Month, a time to honor and acknowledge the important role nurses hold in the lives of so many. 

National Nurses Month spans the month of May with National Nurses Day occurring on May 6 and International Nurses Day observed on May 12. 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has selected the theme “Nurses Make a Difference” for 2021, a theme being embraced by Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) as well.

Roberta Young, chief nursing officer at LRH, weighed in on her nearly 40 years of nursing experience as well as the nurses she has been surrounded by throughout her career. 

“One of the great things about a nursing career is that you can let it take you wherever your passions are,” explained Young. “You don’t have to have the same career as the person next to you.” 

Young’s experiences brought her to critical care for both adults and children, women’s health, oncology, surgery and many more, including hospice and executive-level jobs. 

“It’s such a huge variety and that is something people don’t always think about with nursing, that you can pick your area.”

Being a nurse impacts the lives of patients and coworkers on a personal level. The learning opportunities are also never-ending. Young expressed that learning about people’s determination is one of the most impactful experiences she has encountered. With the outlook that being a nurse is about helping people advocate for their health and well-being, and helping to educate patients, Young has learned that there is joy to be found in most situations if she takes the time to look for it. This outlook has been helpful both in her personal and professional life and has greatly assisted with trust and empathy, a skill highlighted by nurse Mike Robertson as well. 

Patient safety is an arena Young is invested in and which she feels she has made a difference. Stressing that she takes serious people choosing to receive their care at LRH, Young feels they deserve the safest care possible. 

“I never take that relationship or that choice for granted. The basics of really ensuring a safe environment and not apologizing for high standards is something that as leaders we need to keep visible and speak out about and model,” she shared. “I appreciate the teamwork that I see amongst our nurses because they know that’s what it takes to give exceptional care.”

Labor and delivery nurse Samantha Stupca, shared that much of her identity is intertwined with being a nurse. 

“I truly feel like I was made to be a nurse,” she said. “I thrive seeing my patients be healthy and happy and know that I had a small piece of that.” 

Nurses carry an important role in health care, from big things like saving lives and administering correct and necessary medications, interventions and treatments, to the little things like giving hugs, holding hands and celebrating in triumphs — little things quickly become big, something reiterated by nurse assistant Tori Dewey. 

Offering support and encouragement to those interested in the nursing profession is one way to support those already working in the field. 

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