Jennifer Althausen, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
“As nurses, we are obviously there to care for our patient’s physical needs in order to get them better, but I have realized that meeting their emotional and spiritual needs is just as important, whether it be taking the time to feed a patient who can’t feed himself or walk a teenager who just got diagnosed with cancer out to the garden to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and flowers.
“When nurses are able to go the extra mile and fit the non-nursing duties into their busy shifts, and to do it with an empathetic heart, that makes them great.”
Dee Bowbliss, Atlanta Medical Center
“Great nurses are dedicated to their peers, their profession and their patients.
“Great nurses seek to improve themselves and the care they offer.
“Great nurses advocate tirelessly for their patients.
“Great nurses don’t necessarily leave their work behind when their shift is over or forget about their patients when they are discharged [or] transferred.”
Sherrell Burrell, Newton Medical Center
“Give of yourself/gently, and give credit where credit is due.
“Respect all people.
“Embrace new ideas and differences.
“Teach others to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.
“Never step on others for advancement.
“Reach across barriers.
“Evaluate yourself by the above criteria, but be forgiving of yourself on bad days as well as others.”
Rich Costello, Visiting Nurse Health System
“Heroes (in war) are not created; they are born in the moment. Nursing is evolving and developing. The great nurse, however, is born in the moment — the moment in which the need meets its satisfier. In health care, that person is most often the nurse.
“The recipient [usually a patient or society, in general] is the one who determines how great the nurse is. For one patient, it may be a life-saving act. For another it may be the quiet moment spent with the family after the patient has lost life’s struggle. May we all live and serve to be great in the eyes of our patients and society.”
Edna Schiller, Piedmont Henry Hospital
“A great nurse is one of care, compassion, understanding and empathy. One who asks themselves, ‘What can I do for my patients that will make a positive impact on their lives?’
“A great nurse has one goal in mind: to do whatever is necessary to ease the fear, anxiety, pain and suffering for both the patient and family. A great nurse is prideful of their profession and cherishes the memories of nursing.”
Novlet Smith, WellStar Kennestone Hospital
“A great nurse possesses more than clinical knowledge and competence. The ability to deliver excellent nursing care goes far beyond medicine and job description. It’s being able to maintain a professional relationship while showing empathy, kindness and patience during those delicate moments.
“There is an innate desire to care for the overall needs that are essential to a patient’s well-being. [A great nurse] anticipates the patient’s needs, prioritizes [them] and is available to meet those needs accordingly, without creating a feel of dependency or burden.
“A nurse that creates laughter, listens or simply holds a patient’s hand can be comforting and uplifting. It is true that a first impression is lasting, but a great nurse is always mindful that every encounter is crucial and should create a positive impact."
Rhonda Smits, East Coweta Middle School
“Well, I like to compare a great nurse to a great Southern tradition of pecan pie.
“You start with a great pie crust in terms of a solid nursing education. Next comes the wonderful, warm gooey insides of eggs, vanilla, sugar, butter and Karo syrup, which in turn, resembles compassion, empathy, endurance, adaptability and communication skills better than politicians. Then, when you add in pecans in the form of a quick thinker on their feet, the recipe becomes the family favorite.
“But what makes the pie always a crowd pleaser is the ice cream on top, which is the sense of humor. Because no one could be a nurse without the humor of a standup comedian to get you through whatever happens to come your way. And of course, by the grace of God, who made pecans for us all.”
- Compiled by John Brieske