A Nursing vignette, presented as a part of National Nurses Week.
Kathryn L. Owen, MS, RN-BC|
Workforce Solutions Consultant, Healthcare
Nursing is more than a career it is my passion that has grown exponentially over the past 35 years. I started my career in a busy Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where I sharpened my technical skills and heightened my critical thinking. In time, I became a Nurse Educator so that I could share my passion and impart my knowledge with new graduate nurses and nurses starting in the PICU. I eventually realized I was life-long learner and needed even more knowledge. I returned to school and obtained my Master’s Degree in Nursing Education. I always enjoy welcoming new nurses to the profession and today I continue to do this as a faculty member of a nursing school.
Healthcare began to rapidly change with the advent of the Electronic Health Record (EHR). My never-ending desire to learn was still with me and when an opportunity to enter the field of informatics was offered, I took it and ran. I was on the wave of a new and exciting trend and as the wave grew so did I. I started when the specialty was novel, before there was an electronic health record (EHR). However, we did have a computerized clinical documentation system with monitor integration which was quite innovative at the time. When I started this position we were implementing bar code medication administration as a standalone process with our order entry system. Ultimately, I had the opportunity to become involved in the implementation of the electronic health record (EHR). I found my niche and my newest passion, and as Nursing Informatics grew, so did I. As technology continues to grow so does my passion for all of the innovation and opportunities it brings. I have never felt burnt out or bored because I keep seeking new challenges by feeding my curios mind and spirit while remaining fully engaged in everything around me.
I clearly remember as if it was only yesterday, working as a nurse in the PICU and believe me, it was not easy. Nurses are challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually every day. We work schedules that our family and friends do not understand or appreciate. The work is both physically and mentally challenging and we go home at night or in the morning feeling exhausted. It is imperative that nurses take care of themselves so that we have the resilience to care for our patients, their families, and our families and ourselves. It is easy to burn out, so every day I challenge myself to continue to grow in my career and sharpen my technical and critical thinking skills. I challenge you to do the same! Just as important is to make the effort and take the time to balance your life. Take time to exercise and eat well, enjoy your family and friends as well as those fleeting moments you have all to yourself with no interruptions. All the while realizing this may be quite difficult as many of you are working while most people are sleeping. Get enough rest so that your body and mind have quiet and peace. Take care of yourself and keep well. Healthy nurses are healthy caregivers and send a message to not only our patients but also our families, friends and co-workers about wellness and how important it is.
Over the years, I have made many changes in my career and recently have started working for a vendor that focuses on workforce management. I now work with software that is designed to take care of the people who take care of the patients by providing schedules and workload assignments that are well balanced among the staff. This software also provides mobile tools permitting nurses to balance their work and personal lives while on the go. This allows a nurse to be the best they can be by allowing them to choose their own path to a balance of mind, body, and spirit. I feel fortunate to be able to work with nurses to make their lives better. It is one more step in my journey as a nurse. I wish you all a Happy Nurse’s Week and thank you for what you do to better our profession and the impact you have on patients.