For some people, choosing a career in nursing is the result of an innate desire to help others and heal them back to health. For some, the calling to become a nurse happens early in life, and for others it may be later.
Inspiring a career
Kimberly Davis, RN, a nurse in the Emergency Department at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, decided to become a nurse based on a comment made by a family friend and mentor, who noted that Davis had very caring ways. That affirmation changed her life forever.
"My mom worked as an LPN," said Davis. "Though I have to admit I wasn’t immediately attracted to the nursing profession. I knew how hard it was and remembered her stories about the kind of tasks she had to complete. So I had chosen a different path, and was already at Andrews University in Michigan, majoring in Agriculture and Pre-Veterinary Medicine. But sometimes," Davis continued, "another person's perspective can help you see things in a whole new light. For me, that comment got me thinking more about who I was and how I could make a difference; it was about the caring, not just the tasks and long hours."
Upon returning to school, Davis changed her major to nursing and from that moment on, has never looked back.
Finding a specialty
Beginning with National Nurses Day on May 6, nurses around the country, including at Baystate Health facilities throughout the area, are being honored as leaders who improve the quality of health care. Nurses practice in diverse roles, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.
"I always admired nurses who knew just what to do for a critically ill patient, nurses who detected subtle changes and intervened for the patient’s welfare," said Davis. "While working at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital on the Medical/Surgical Unit and the Intensive Care Unit, many of my nursing colleagues taught me these skills."
Critical care nursing is one of the most intense nursing specialties, and for nurses who thrive in the practice, it is also one of the most rewarding. It was this special interest that drew Davis to achieve certification in Critical Care. Critical care nurses care for the most seriously ill and injured patients in a variety of settings including emergency rooms, intensive care units, pediatric and neonatal ICUs, cardiac care units, cardiac catheter labs, telemetry units, progressive care units, and recovery rooms.
"When an opportunity became available in the Emergency Department, I thought I could best use my skills there," said Davis. "I don’t know if there is ever an average day in the ER. I may triage and care for a patient with a sore throat, a trauma victim, a person experiencing a stroke or heart attack. I never know who will walk through our doors. I am constantly learning something new, constantly using critical thinking," she added.
National Nurses Day
Sponsored by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week has as its 2014 theme, “Nurses: Leading the Way,” recognizing nurses as leaders at the bedside, in the boardroom, throughout communities and in the halls of government. The public holds nurses in high regard and trusts them to advocate for patients. For the past 12 years, the public has ranked nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics in an annual Gallup survey.
Ask the Ware nurse if she’d recommend nursing to anyone questioning her about the profession – and the answer is a definite "yes."
"I would definitely recommend a profession in Nursing. It is flexible and there are so many different career paths to choose, but the best part is the reward of helping someone in need every day," said Davis.
National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During the week, registered nurses throughout the country and at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital will be honored.