National Nurses Week, May 6-12, celebrates and recognizes the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the field of nursing. Home care nurses are often the unsung heroes who keep our aging population living safely and independently at home—avoiding unnecessary trips to the hospital. National Nurses Week is an opportunity to shine a light on these skilled and dedicated professionals who work tirelessly on the frontlines in our communities, helping our most vulnerable New Yorkers stay safe and healthy well into their golden years.
Many people are surprised when their experience gives them insight into the care that a skilled home care nurse provides.
Here are five things that you might not know about nurses—National Nurses Week is a great time to give a shout out to one of the dedicated nurses who has made a difference in your life.
Nurses are educated, but they also educate.
Nurses go above and beyond their standard “job description” to educate their patients and caregivers, and provide help navigating the ever -changing health care system. They are tech-savvy and often use mobile phone cameras or lightweight tablet computers to keep their patients ‘in the know’ about important health issues or report symptoms to a physician.
Nurses are tough as nails and immune to bad smells.
Nurses are often in and out of homes and hospitals and are used to every smell you can think of—good or bad. Nurses are also often required to adapt to a variety of stressful situations. Whether it’s dealing with an emergency surgery or quickly treating a grisly wound, nurses can be some of the toughest people you know.
Nurses are the “eyes” and “ears” of physicians.
While patients may only see their doctors for a quick visit in the office, home care nurses coordinate care with their patients on an ongoing basis to form trusting relationships that support their care. They monitor patients outside the office and can inform doctors about health changes to help them stay healthy and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital or ER.
Nurses aren’t just people you see in hospitals.
By providing care right where someone lives, home care nurses can help aging or homebound individuals stay rooted and engaged in their communities and live a safe and independent life for many years—avoiding the isolation and dependency that can develop in a nursing home.
At some point in our lives, we all connect with a nurse. Maybe it’s someone who was there when we were born, or gave birth to our own children. Maybe it’s the steady skill of an RN who supervised care and helped coach new lifestyle changes after surgery. National Nurses Week is a time to say thank you to nurses who are there when we need them.
Jennifer Leeflang is a registered nurse and senior vice president at Partners in Care, an affiliate of The Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Visit www.partnersincareny.org or call 888-735-8913 for more information.