Nursing practice is expanding based on theory, scientific inquiry, and the incorporation of evidence-based practice. This is not new. Nurses since the time of Florence Nightingale have used this approach to ensure the safety and quality of care. What is new is the shift in power, and the recognition that healthcare design, management, and transformation are important duties within the competency and skill sets of nurses. It is an exciting time to be in nursing, and to participate in in this force of nursing to promote quality, safety, and efficiency in patient care. For me, it represents a shift in power in relation to how I have always understood nursing.
Becoming a force for change
My initial training, decades ago, was very focused on protocols and guidelines. Exams were based on following instructions perfectly. I assumed that doctors would be my superiors, telling me what to do. Of course, I quickly realized that doctors did not know how to do this nursing work. No, no, the real leaders were the managing nurses. Today, I have a more refined understanding of the limitations of nursing, but also the potential for advancement. I once believed that nurse managers had all the answers, but today I know that nurse leaders are still trying to determine what the right questions are.
Power and perspective
My understanding of the role of the nurse has come a long way, and my passion for nursing has evolved as well. Once I wanted to help the sick. Today I want to help people to avoid getting sick in the first place. The pandemic and other recent events have underlined the increased urgency in relation to the healthcare system. Nurses coordinate, navigate, and evaluate patient care systems. The time for transformation is now.