Nurses find their niche in today’s world
DEBORAH A. MILES
At 2.9 million strong, nurses represent the largest group of health care
workers in America. PEF represents nearly 10,000 nurses in New York state
No matter if they work in an emergency room or a school-based clinic, nurses
are traditionally recognized for a week beginning with National Nurses Day
May 6, and ending May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightengale, the founder
of modern nursing.
“The role of the today’s nurse has expanded throughout the centuries,” said
Dee Dodson, PEF Region 12 coordinator and chair of the PEF Nurses Committee.
“Individuals are drawn to this profession because of the compassion and
dedication they feel toward people. In these times, they need that special
commitment knowing their profession may be even more vital during times of
pandemic disease or disasters,” Dodson said.
“Nurses today are committed to quality patient care as evidenced through our
continuing education efforts, and our determination to improve health care,
such as our struggle to get the mandatory overtime law passed in our state.
“Nursing today also offers opportunities to specialize in several areas that
are important to an individual, whether it be neonatal intensive care or
infection control. Nurses are drawn to where they can do their best,” Dodson
PEF members Kunnel Varughese and Jesse Joshy found their nursing niches at
Creedmore Psychiatric Center.
Both psychiatric nurses said a team effort with doctors, other nurses and
therapists is what helps a patient to improve or recover.
But they each have their own special way of nursing.
“Sometimes, the best way to help a patient is just to listen. You can tell
when someone is in pain,” Varughese said. “Listening to patients gives them
a sense that someone cares and is concerned. It makes them happy and takes
away the bad feelings in their minds.”
said, “Observation is also a critical part of the patient’s care. It’s the
little things we notice and relate that can make a difference.
“There are a lot of sacrifices in this profession, but it is personally
fulfilling. It is a career within a career, and a noble profession. We deal
with perfect strangers at a time when they are most vulnerable. That is when
we must show our compassion and earn the patient’s trust,” she said.
Sometimes, the strangers who enter the lives of a nurse give something back.
Brenda Phillips, a nurse for more than 25 years who works at Helen Hayes
Hospital, said two very disabled patients inspired her.
“These women, both quadriplegics, are very motivated to live a normal life,
despite their disabilities,” Phillips said.
“One of the women just keeps fighting, even though her disease keeps
progressing. I admire her. Instead of getting down or feeling sorry for
herself, she fights to live.
And she fights insurance companies. She is trying to have a normal life. She
has been a very positive influence.”
Phillips also said nursing is not only a rewarding profession, but one with
many opportunities to find your niche.
BEAMING WITH PRIDE — Dozens of nurses from
Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn pose for a group shot at a recognition
ceremony celebrating their achievement in specialty certification. PEF
Region 11 Coordinator Jemma Marie-Hanson was among the group for being one
of the first nurses to achieve certification for lactation. Hanson called
the event “historical and rewarding.” — Photo by Marcos Linus
receive ‘certified’ accolades
By DEBORAH A. MILES
Feelings of pride, accomplishment and joy filled the Health Science Education
Building at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn March 18 when nearly 60 nurses
were honored for achieving certification.
It was the first recognition ceremony of this type. According to Dianne Woods,
deputy director of nursing, it won’t be the last.
Woods said a specialty certification validates a nurse has achieved a high level
of knowledge and skill in a clinical specialty.
“In order to achieve certification, nurses must take a national written exam
that is quite difficult, and have worked a certain number of hours in their
specialty,” Woods said. “They are both knowledgeable and experienced. That leads
to better care for patients and better patient outcomes.”
was an important event because it showed the administration is recognizing the
importance of valuing nurses who have committed themselves to achieving and
maintaining their certification,” said Cheryl Vincent, a PEF member and
“The ceremony was a gesture that went a long way in making the nurses feel
appreciated and special. Everyone was beaming with smiles,” Vincent said. “We
each received a real red rose corsage.”
The ceremony reflected the dedication of these nurses to becoming the best they
can be, despite the time and expense involved with achieving certification.
Downstate Medical Center does not pay nurses extra for being specialty
certified, so the recognition was “wonderful,” Vincent said.
“More important than the money is the great sense of accomplishment and the
pride I feel. I am now recognized as having expertise in my clinical area,” she
Vincent works in the neonatal intensive care unit. She said several nurses
decided to start a study group as a way of motivating each other. Seven nurses
paid and took the exam, and three passed. The ones who did not expressed
interest in trying again.
The guest speaker at the event, Dr. Julia Aucoin from the Institute for
Credentialing Innovation, encouraged the certified nurses to be mentors and help
other nurses achieve certification.
“We are committed to excellence in patient care. To those certified, I
congratulate you. I also encourage those who do not have their certification to
pursue it. Do it for yourself.
“The process of preparing for the exam may be tedious, but it will greatly
sharpen your skills. You will feel more competent in your clinical area. And the
best part,” Vincent said, “you will feel a great sense of pride and
accomplishment when you put that ‘C’ for certified at the end of your title.