Nursing: A vital profession

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For those of you who are not aware, on July 2 my first child was born prematurely and was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where she stayed until last Friday.

For those of you who are not aware, last Friday was among the happiest days of my life. Bringing home my daughter felt incredible. I feel accomplished and successful, as if my wife and I have overcome a majorly challenging obstacle.

Since Emily’s been born, I’ve been detailing my experiences and sharing with Daily Record readers the struggles and lessons of a month spent in the NICU.

Today, I am writing to trumpet for the goodness of nurses.

Anybody would be hard-pressed to claim that nurses are overrated. My grandmother was a nurse, my mom, too. My stepmother, my aunt and my sister are nurses now. Despite my bias, I’m going to be bold enough to state that nursing is among the most important professions in the world.

Here is a short list of attributes explaining just some my reasoning as to why nursing is one of — if not — the most important profession in the world.

Education — I’ve seen firsthand that nurses undergo some of the most challenging coursework of any field of study. I watched as my stepmom and sister went through college to earn their nursing degrees, and the rigors of their studies were impressive. From advanced biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, etc., a nursing degree encompasses all of the medical subject matter, with practical and laboratory application.

Flexibility — Something else that I noticed while being around nurses for a while is that they work wild schedules. Sickness doesn’t sleep, and it comes in many forms. The long, sometimes odd hours require nurses to be flexible. And the flexibility needed for nurses to specialize while staying aware of all aspects of the practice is an invaluable trait in any profession. It makes nurses the most important sector of a medical staff, more so than the doctor.

Constitution — Nurses not only need to be adept in everything medically-scientific, they also must act as compassionate care providers for people in so many different settings. In Nov. 2017, during Harnett County’s Home Care and Hospice month, I wrote an article detailing some aspects of end-of-life care. And in a kind of contrast, I spent this last month with many NICU nurses.

In both settings, a good nurse must have “constitution,” or be grounded and centered. He or she must be able to combine sharp minds with gentle hands, to be firm, while caring, in the crucial care of patients old or young.

This short, superficial list of attributes only scratches the surface of the argument as to why nurses are extremely important to society. Their life-saving training, their availability in times of need, their flexibility through the constant reprisal of an ever-changing practice, and their simple, yet unparalleled ability to be both professional while considerate makes the dynamic profession of nursing a particularly precious one.

Shaun Savarese is a former reporter with The Daily Record. He can be reached at shaun.savarese@outlook.com.

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