Lessons Learned from Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson

It was inspiring to hear from so many nurses standing united to defend Miss Kelley Jones and the nursing profession.  United, nurses have a very strong and powerful voice!  We are over 3 million strong and do not usually speak out and feel empowered.  I came to several realizations while reading all of the comments.

The first realization is that the public really does not have a clue what we do in our very diverse nursing roles.  I feel it is time we educate the public.  Our expertise is derived from a strong scientific foundation that has extensive empirical evidence-base research supporting that what we do on a daily basis improves patient outcomes.  We also have a strong theoretical foundation that guides our nursing practice.

Another realization is that I believe that the public and physicians probably believe that our role is strictly confined to following doctor’s orders.  Many do not see how we proactively, monitor, assess our patients using all forms of knowledge (critical thinking, intuition, evidence-based practice, etc.).  We also serve as a patient advocates providing emotional support for families and provide information to assist with decision-making.  We educate many patients and their families regarding their diagnosis, medications, diet, physical activity, signs and symptoms to report to their physicians and modifying lifestyle behaviors.

I realize that many of the comments revealed the passion we have when discussing our dedication to patients, families, and our profession.  We talk about the intentional caring connections we make with patients and families during moments of witnessing suffering, fear, and grief.  We do not necessarily discuss how we go about our days with all of the tasks that can be overwhelming to complete within our 12-hour shifts.  We also do not talk about how we fill in all the gaps in the care of the patients to ensure that all everything has been addressed in the care of the patient.

Lastly, I came to realize that if we collectively used our unified voices to affect change, it would have a dramatic impact on our profession.  We are great advocates for patients, but when are we going to begin to advocate for ourselves?

Lourdes Lorenz