One profession, many roads taken

By Irene Andress, Chief Nursing Executive
Time flies.
Next year, it will be 30 years since I graduated from Ryerson University’s School of Nursing. So much has changed. Nurses today no longer wear the white, starched uniforms and caps of yesteryear. More importantly, nurses today are more educated, highly skilled and knowledgeable.
They have to be. Health care is changing at a dizzying pace.
Last week, I saw this incredible expertise, skill and knowledge when I shadowed some of the nurses and nurse practitioners on Michael Garron Hospital’s respirology and oncology unit.
Have a watch.

And I realized in their varied titles, all nurses share one goal: to use their skill, knowledge and expertise, partnering with patients and their families as they move through their health care journey.
Spending time with nurses every month- shadowing them on the units- not only gives me a connection to the front lines, but also allows me to realize the breadth of this great profession.
There’s a saying I came across the other day by a fellow named John Le Carré:
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.”
And so I make it a priority to learn about the nurses who work here and see the profession from their eyes. Looking back now to my own career, I never imagined I would leave the bedside to influence patient care from an administrative lens as Chief Nursing Executive.
But within the nursing profession, there are many roads taken:
All around MGH, nurses like Maria Janes, Nadia Raymond, Mikki Layton and Laura Istanbulian manage care directly at the bedside;
Nurses like Sandra Dickau and Jane Harwood manage programs and patient units;
Nurses like Gaye Bell manage patient relations;
And nurses like Kirsten Martin manage clinical decisions related to planning the new redevelopment.
We’ve taken many different paths, but in actuality, we nurses are all guided by the same beacon calling us to our destination – that of the patient. Nursing really is one profession, many faces.
Nurses working as a team are a formidable force – we’re even stronger when we work together toward a common vision. When we’re aligned, we truly have a great opportunity to shape and influence the entire health care system.
We are one profession, many faces and I’m proud to lead the nurses at MGH – patient partners and advocates for the highest quality of care.
Happy Nursing Week.
Join me on Twitter @IreneAndress

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