“Frontline nurses, as the health professionals who spend the most time with patients and their families, are central to ensuring that the patient experience is a positive and dignified one.”
This sentence from “The Essence of Nursing Care,” a guest editorial in the May issue of AJN, isn’t just rhetoric. It’s based on a recent and unforgettable personal experience of the power nurses have to recognize and sometimes ease a family member’s suffering at the very worst of times.
In this moving editorial, Susan Hassmiller, the senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, writes about the nurses who helped her in the terrible days following her husband Bob’s tragic bicycle accident last fall. Writes Hassmiller:
“My life changed forever on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 11:09 am. . . .That’s when I learned that Bob, my best friend and husband of 37 years, lay paralyzed in the trauma unit of a nearby hospital . . . .During those 10 brutal days, I learned anew the crucial role that nurses play in caregiving and compassion. Three nurses stood out in particular.”
I won’t attempt to summarize the rest of this guest editorial. It’s as eloquent a tribute as nurses are likely to get this year on Nurses Week. The article is free, so we encourage you to read it.
“This year for Nurses Week, I want to honor those nurses. Thank you for your care and compassion, and thank you for seeing the full lives that Bob and I shared. Your care was a gift.”
(Readers may also be interested in a blog post, “The Call to Service is Personal: From Vietnam to Red Cross Volunteer,” which Bob Hassmiller submitted to AJN last fall a few days before his bike accident, as he was preparing to join the second part of a tour retracing American Red Cross founder Clara Barton’s career and the history of the Red Cross. In it he wrote eloquently of the role the Red Cross had played in his life since the time he was wounded in the Vietnam War, as well as the meaning of personal service.)