Brigham nurses are world-renowned for leading the way in patient care, research, education and community outreach. In celebration of National Nurses Week 2019, Brigham Health honored the extraordinary contributions of nurses through a video series, social media campaign, digital signage, lobby display featuring the Essence of Nursing recipient and honorees, the publication of the 2017–18 Department of Nursing report, Spiritual Care Services’ “Blessing of the Hands” events, internal promotions, a special “wrap” in The Boston Globe on Sunday, May 12, and more.
Inside this edition of Brigham Bulletin, hear from Brigham nurses about what inspires their practice and how they make a difference in the lives of patients, their loved ones and colleagues.
Roger Blanza, BSN, RN, CCRN, CSC
Shapiro 6 West, Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit
What does it mean to make a meaningful difference as a nurse?
RB: Even with all this technology and all these advanced tools we have, the personal part of nursing should always be there — the compassion, the caring. People appreciate the personal aspect of it more than anything else. I have patients who have been in the hospital for months or even years. What they remember most sometimes — more than the care that I give — is that I gave them a haircut and, for the guys, a shave. That dedication means a lot to them and their families.
You’ve been a nurse for more than 40 years. How has the field evolved?
RB: There’s more collaboration and a recognition that everyone plays a role in helping patients get better, from the doctors to nurses to educators to housekeeping — anybody who gets in contact with a patient.
What inspired you to pursue this field?
KF: My father was a medic in the Air Force, and he had chatted with me over the years about becoming a nurse. At 16, I went to work as a nurse’s aide. I absolutely loved it and never wanted to leave. I decided that nursing was definitely what I wanted to do for my career.
What do you enjoy most about nursing?
KF: My favorite part of my job is being with people and taking care of those who need care. I enjoy watching them feel better and heal.
What qualities make a good nurse?
CM: You need to be sympathetic, compassionate, understanding, patient and thoughtful. When I’m caring for someone, I always try to think about what I would want done for me if I were in their situation. That helps me every day throughout my practice.
What made you want to become a nurse?
CM: I just realized I had so much empathy and compassion for other people, and I wanted to share that happiness and joy.
What drew you to nursing?
JN: I thought I wanted to be an occupational therapist, but that didn’t work out. I shadowed a nurse one day, and after about an hour I thought, “This is what I want to do.” I immediately applied to school, and here I am now as a nurse, three years later.
What’s one the most important aspects of nursing?
JN: Creating a relationship with the patient is extremely important. I work with surgical patients who just received transplanted lungs and are learning new ways to breathe. They’re scared — I would be scared, too, in their shoes. Sometimes, even just a smile on our faces makes them happier. I always try to make my patients laugh, and I’ve found they really enjoy that. If we can be a light in the darkness, then that’s really important.