By | May 7, 2019

Each year we celebrate National Nurses Week (May 6-12), chosen for Florence Nightingale’s birthday. National Nurses Week has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA), which has chosen the 2019 National Nurses Week theme, “4 million reasons to celebrate” in recognition and celebration of the nation’s four million nurses.

I’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate not only the many nurses here at Relias, but all our nation’s nurses and their countless contributions to patient care.

In honor of the 2019 National Nurses Week theme, Relias nurses are taking time to share personal insights on the many ways the nursing industry is evolving and celebrate how nursing has shaped their lives.

Thank you to all the nurses out there, and this week we celebrate you!

Sandhya Gardner, M.D.– Sandhya Gardner, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Relias

 

What inspired you to become a nurse?

There was an old “ER” episode where clinicians were being interviewed (I think medical students in that situation) and asked why they chose their career paths, and they repeatedly said, “to help people.” It was comical to hear candidate after candidate repeat the same answer. But, at the heart of the matter, most enter nursing to do just that … to help people …. to be there for people in a serious time of need and use healthcare expertise to make their journeys better and less stressful, if possible. There are many ways to help others, but being willing to enter the front lines and help people who are scared, stressed, and sometimes overwhelmed by a health crisis is truly a calling and not just a job. That motivation to help others when the fragility of life is clearly seen is the heart of a nurse. And, it was that inspiration to help others through uncertain times that was a part of my decision to become a nurse.

Maria Morales– Maria Morales, MSN, RN, CPAN
Director of Clinical Education, Relias

 

What advice would you give to our future nurses?

My advice to future nurses is simply this: “Always advocate for your patients first and foremost.”  It’s not always easy to do that: managing priorities and workload, maneuvering through conflicts with fellow nurses and physicians, laughing and crying through busy hectic days where you can’t even get a meal or go to the bathroom when you need to! If you advocate for your patient, you can be fulfilled in your role as a nursing professional and in your heart as you are making a positive difference for someone who is vulnerable and relies on you to keep them safe.

My own daughter is a new nurse of just nine months and this is the advice I’ve given her.  She’s called me unable to speak through her tears following a tough night shift. She’s questioned whether nursing was the right path for her, and she will tell you today, keeping her patients as the priority is what brings her the most satisfaction and why she loves being a nurse.

I’m also very proud of being a nurse professional.  Nursing has shaped me and given me opportunities to be where I am today; advocating for nursing and physician teamwork and communication that enables patient safety and high reliability.

Lora Sparkman– Lora Sparkman, RN, BSN, MHA
Clinical Effectiveness Consultant, Relias

 

How do you feel your nurse background helps you to be successful in your role today?

I think the combination of having obtained solid clinical experience and the completion of my master’s in nursing, has provided me with the knowledge and skills to write successfully today. In my role as a subject matter expert (SME) writer, I’m able to draw on my past clinical and educational experience.  In addition, I have lived and worked in 4 different countries, which has broadened my cultural understanding of healthcare, patients and nursing professionals. In each country, I was required to take the National Licensure Exam and additional certification exams. This personal experience has given me the tools and experience to successfully help prepare other nurses studying for various national certification exams.

Nadine Salmon– Nadine Salmon, MSN, RN-BC, IBCLC
SME Writer, Clinical Nursing, Relias

 

How do you think the nursing profession has changed in the past decade?

The healthcare landscape itself has changed significantly over the course of the past 10 years.  There has been a paradigm shift in reimbursements and therefore, we are seeing significant changes in how healthcare organizations are responding to these changes.  The primary driver of change in recent years is relative to Pay-for-Performance under the ACA.  Nurses are on the front lines and play a vital role in healthcare quality and in managing the complexities of today’s patient population.  Nurses are tasked with managing higher acuity patients while working long hours to ensure their patients receive excellent care.

In the past 10 years, we have also seen many advances in technology which have become a vital resource for nurses in the provision of care.  Another huge change is the opportunities that are available to the nursing professional.  Nursing has become more specialized and this provides many opportunities for professional growth and opportunities to develop expertise over time.  Certainly, this is not all encompassing however, it is important to note that nurses today have a tremendous opportunity at all levels and across the care continuum to make a measurable difference in safe & effective care.

Felicia Sadler– Felicia Sadler, MJ, BSN, RN, CPHQ
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Healthcare
Clinical Effectiveness Consultant, Relias

 

I think improved technology and medical advances mean nurses are seeing higher acuity patients in all areas of healthcare. These advances make continuing education essential. End of life conversations are also impacted by medical advances and sometimes lead to challenges for hospice-appropriate patients. Some patients are not referred to hospice in time to fully benefit from the service.

Susan Heinzerling– Susan Heinzerling, RN, CHPN
Content Writer – Post-Acute Care, Relias

 

Sandhya Gardner, MD

Sandhya serves as Chief Medical Officer of Relias. She joined Relias in December 2016 with the acquisition of Advanced Practice Strategies (APS), a Boston-based healthcare education and technology company where she served as Chief Content Officer. APS has partnered with over 100 major US health systems to improve patient care and outcomes through the delivery of assessment-driven, adaptive learning solutions to physicians and nurses. Using a data-driven approach and innovative solutions designed to reduce variation in practice & improve the reliability of care, the company transformed the way that learning is leveraged in the healthcare space.

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