Monday, September 03, 2012

Nursing: More Than Meets The Eye

Many of my online endeavors put me in contact with a growing number of nurses, and what strikes me most is that nurses are an incredibly diverse, passionate, talented and interesting group of people. I'm honored to be a nurse, and find the profession simply blossoming with richness and diversity.

As RN.FM Radio--our radio show dedicated to nursing--continues to grow, I find myself continually networking with a growing number of nurses through Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and other online networks. This is truly one of the joys of our endeavor.

Similarly, my work as a coach via Nurse Keith Coaching, my blogging here on Digital Doorway, as well as my webinars for CoursePark and my writing for Working Nurse Magazine and other venues, put me in touch with vast networks of nurses around the country--and around the world.

While the general public may still simply view nurses as caring professionals who take care of them and their loved ones while they're hospitalized, some laypeople are indeed learning that nurses don't just work in hospitals or clinics. Au contraire, we are everywhere.

In a similar way, I've also learned that many nurses themselves don't even know what nurses do outside of the mainstream of the profession, and part of our mission on RN.FM Radio is to broaden everyone's mind when it comes to the vision of nursing in the 21st century. Nursing schools don't seem to educate nursing students about the amazing plethora of opportunities of which they can potentially avail themselves once they gain the status of professional nurse. Thus, it's our job to fill in where the nursing educational system appears to fail.

The nursing mind is one that uses critical thinking (that dreaded--but apt--phrase from nursing school) and a global perspective to perceive a problem or challenge and rise to meet it. Nursing may have been birthed as a lowly and subservient handmaiden role for the support of physicians, but the last decades have served to broaden and deepen the roles that nurses fulfill.

Speaking of roles for nurses, what I see is that we haven't simply leaned back and waited for new roles to be created for us. Rather, we've advanced our educational reach to embrace many new realities and challenges.

In response to the need for more primary care providers within the American healthcare system, for instance, we have created and embraced the notion of the "Doctor of Nursing Practice" (much to the chagrin of the medical establishment), and we've fought--and are still fighting--for broader prescriptive authority and autonomy for advanced practice nurses in many locations and regions.

And while advanced practice nursing has come into its own with multiple specialties and areas of professional focus, other nurses have seen research as a means to legitimize the scope of the scientific aspect of nursing--far beyond the original "art" of nursing as a means to provide caring and nurturing to the ill and dying. Rigorous scientific inquiry is a large aspect of what nursing truly is and what it is capable of, although many are still not fully aware of the scientific underpinnings of our profession.

On RN.FM Radio, we've focused a great deal of attention on nurse entrepreneurs, and there is a growing army of nurses out in the world who leverage their nursing skills, knowledge and expertise as writers, coaches, business owners, innovators and healers.

From legal nurse consultants to autonomous nursing practice, nurses of all stripes are forging new ways in which nurses can impact the world and our communities, and some nurses are marrying other skills with their nursing skills--including technology, writing and business savvy.

I'm consistently thrilled to hear how nurses continue to create new opportunities for themselves, leveraging various sets of skills and knowledge in novel ways. Nursing--and nurses--are indeed more than meet the eye, and I have no doubt that I will continue to be amazed and impressed by the ways in which nurses will continue to contribute, grow, expand and innovate. 

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