“Whether it is a national health emergency or routine daily care, nurses’ vital contributions impact the health and well-being of our communities.” –American Nurses Association
When 2020 was originally designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the intention was to mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, while also “advancing nurses’ vital role in transforming healthcare around the world,” according to the American Nursing Informatics Association.
As it turned out, 2020 served to further highlight the tireless dedication that all frontline workers — and particularly nurses — demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. And so, it came as no surprise when the decision was made to extend it another year.
In commemoration of the Year of the Nurse, along with National Nurses Week, we’ve compiled some perspectives from past interviews on the challenges nurses face, the critical role they play in providing patient care, and how nursing experience can benefit leaders.
Why Nurses Are Important
“They inspire us while providing models of coping with adversity, finding meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for a good purpose. The year 2020, the year of the nurse, has forced us all to do just these things. It’s no surprise to anyone that nurses rose to the challenge and faced the villain head on.”
–Brian Weirich, Chief Nursing Officer, Banner Health
Giving Nurses a Voice
“My first system implementation was the food and nutrition system. I’ll never forget the day I went to the project team meeting. As I introduced myself and my new role, they said, ‘why would we need a nurse to help us build our food and nutrition system?’ I went through my discussion around how the nurses are at the bedside; they’re with the patient. They talk to the family. They see how the patients’ intakes and outputs are being impacted. They work worked with the types of diseases that patients have that implicate the type of diets that patients should be on, their fluid balance, all of their hemodynamics — all of which are impacted by nutrition, which shows how important it was to order the right things and to provide the right food and fluids at the right time. It was about the team; there was no one type of clinician that didn’t need to be part of that environment for the patient.”
-Susan Marino, VP & CNIO, Hartford HealthCare
Making Technology Work for Nurses
I remember the day I had the epiphany that if I was going to be the best nurse I could be, I needed to figure out how to make this technology work for me, instead of me working for the technology. We still have a lot of work to do — especially on the vendor side — to help create more and more efficiency. We have more work to do to let computers do more work for physicians and nurses; to present them with information versus the nurse having to go dig for it, and have more learning happening so that we don’t have to do the work that computers can do.
-Nancy Yates, VP & CNIO, Centura Health
Thinking about the Process
I think about things in a more process-oriented way. I think about it less from a technology standpoint and more, how is this going to impact the process, how are people going to be engaged with this, and is this something that’s really going to work for the person who has to use it, versus it just being cool technology. Because there’s a lot of cool technology out there, but if you can’t mold it to the process that you have, then it’s not worth anything.
-Theresa Meadows, SVP & CIO, Cook Children’s Health Care System
Lessons Learned from Nursing[Being a nurse] helped me better understand the challenges of all types of providers. As an ICU nurse, you interact with all types of providers and systems, and it benefited me having that background. Later on during my administrative career, it helped as well. I learned new things every day; that experience still influences me and enables me to do my job better.
Sue Murphy, Chief Experience Officer, University of Chicago-the Pritzker School of Medicine
Having worked in the nursing realm for many years, both as a nurse at the bedside and under the nursing umbrella in a leadership role, you appreciate the work they do. You understand the workflow, the commitment, and the pains and struggles that those jobs involve. But at the same time, you begin to understand that as you’re growing up working at the bedside and eventually taking a leadership role, you have to be very inclusive of other people to get a full picture of what you’re dealing with and to find possible solutions.
Mike Hart, Former CNIO and VP of IT, Arkansas Children’s