Celebrating National Hospital Week & National Nurses Week

May 8, 2007

I have learned much these past years in health care. The privilege of being in many organizations convinces me that we in health care share many common characteristics. One characteristic is that health care is more than a job. It is a calling.

In just one day last week I heard the same message from two people who were in very different situations and times in their careers. Kevin Lofton, the new chairman of the AHA, spoke of this calling in his talk on Sunday, May 6th when he assumed the chairmanship of AHA. On that day I also received the letter below written by a nursing student at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida:

“I have no career experience in the field of nursing. This is just something I know I want to do. I would like to say that my goals are to gain tons of experience and working knowledge for the job, learn multiple areas and fields until I find the one that makes me the happiest. I would like to say just that. Because of a recent experience in my life, I have learned a valuable lesson. These things I have mentioned are not my goals at all. Yes they are important, but they are only necessities. My true goals are to care for those in need, to be compassionate and supportive, to provide comfort and treatment. For someone who is injured, frightened or confused I want to be that person who provides a safe and comforting environment, a way to ease their suffering and the knowledge and strength for them to carry on. If someone is alone and in their final hours I want them to know someone cares even if that person is a stranger who is fortunate enough to be their nurse. Of all the little things and big things that go on in a healthcare environment, I have recognized two things that happen constantly. One, people get sick, injured, suffer and die every minute of every hour. Two, they turn to a nurse for help in hopes that, that nurse is there just for them. I want to be that nurse and that’s my goal!!.”

The words from the nursing student brought me back to the beginning: purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference. Kevin’s talk keeps me there. It is our time and our responsibility to fulfill our social contract with those we serve. If not us . . . who? If not now . . . when?

I am an optimist in health care. Are there challenges? You bet. Can we be better? We have to be. So why am I optimistic? I see difference makers everyday. So do you. It starts when you look in the mirror. Never underestimate the difference one person can make.



7 Responses to “Celebrating National Hospital Week & National Nurses Week”

  1. Kathy Harren Says:

    Quint (Mr. Studer),

    Thank YOU for your thoughtful comments and acknowledgement of the role of Nursing during our week of celebration of this great profession.

    At Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital, we do reflect on our individual “callings” regardless of our roles. This reflection in fact is quite powerful, as you well know! As a Health Care and Nurse Leader the calling to make a difference in the human condition is simply a gift and a privilege. These nursing students’ comments below are elegant.

    Nurses have a social mandate to influence the current and future state of health care for those we serve. I am thrilled to be serving and supporting my staff and thrilled to be advancing our committeemen and skills in the “human connection” of service excellence.

    You should be delighted and proud to know we have advanced our SE monthly scores 56% ranking to 79% ranking in just ONE month, Feb to March, since our “Studor” coaching has begun.

    Of course more to the story…but this is great start.

    A proud CNO and fire starter….

  2. Davee Says:

    Thank you, this letter reminded me why I decided to be a nurse. I will share this with my staff today in our staff meeting and put it in our next nursing newsletter.

  3. Vivian Says:

    Hi Quint,

    I really appreciate this and plan to share some of this during our Annual Service Awards Ceremony, which is held annually during Hospital Week. Do you know where I can find Kevin Lofton’s speech on his “calling?” I would be very interested in that as well.

    Thanks very much for always reminding us of our roles in healthcare and our duty to carry out the mission.

  4. Laura Says:

    Thank you for the warm words…
    I too hope that each day I make a difference for someone, even for myself.

  5. Diana P. Says:

    Dear Quint,

    Thank you for sharing this message. Our graduate nurses begin their nursing careers with us in June. These are words to remember as we help them grow and learn as we give them the tools they need to be able to care for our patients in a safe and compassionate environment.

  6. Mary Says:

    Thank you for recentering me! I am a Nurse, how lucky am I!!

  7. Melissa B. Says:

    Nick Jacobs, CEO, posted this blog. It’s about the world of health care…and how special that world is…

    Sometimes… by Nick Jacobs
    September 15th, 2006

    As I reflect on the sacred role that has been bestowed upon us as healthcare providers, I recognize the depth of trust, commitment and sharing that we are privy to in our jobs, and I breathe deeply, close my eyes and allow those thoughts to wash over me like a healing light.

    The experience is so profound and so moving that many people never fully grasp the significance of the every day miracles that are so much an ingredient of our work lives.

    We are there when new life arrives.

    We are there when life passes.

    We are there for all aspects and challenges of life as the deck is dealt on a daily basis to our patients and their families.

    Each of these experiences provide connections at a spiritual level that can only be imagined by a non healthcare worker.

    When I see the play unfold as it should with the appropriate light cues, the correct lines, apt expressions of emotion, and displays of kindness, it truly can be a beautiful thing.

    When we, as caregivers, understand it at every level, and break from our normal gate to move in lockstep with the grieving family or the petrified parents, it is a cadence that can only be appreciated by them as we carry out our journey through this sometimes lonely world.

    And when we move toward the hurting spouse or the sobbing family member and share in their pain, hurt, grief, or sorrow, that is when it begins to feel so absolutely correct.

    Just knowing that we were invited to share those moments with perfect strangers is an amazing gift. In fact, it can be just what the doctor ordered for both patient and caregiver.

    Healthcare is not perfect. Our lives are usually hectic, stressful and disconcerting. Our world is complex and it can drain us deeply each and every day, BUT it is a world of reality, a world of caring, a world of deep emotional attachment that is almost impossible to create in a non-hospital environment.

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