Irene Strejc, MPH, BSN, RN, CENP, ACHE
Vice President Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Richardson Medical Center
One of my favorite times of year is upon us — National Nurses Week. May 6-12 has been set aside as the time for the entire country to celebrate the profession of nursing and thank nurses everywhere for their selfless dedication to others.
My desire to be a nurse started at a very young age. When I was 5 years old, I was hospitalized for flulike symptoms. Even at that young point in my life, I was impressed with the kindness and graciousness of the nurses who cared for me. Perhaps it was because I come from a long line of family members who have deep roots in health care, but I wanted to continue the tradition. When I became a teen, I volunteered at a hospital, then went on to finish a two-year associate’s degree so I could immediately begin caring for others. After working a few years, I realized the vast potential that a nursing career offered, so I went back to school and earned a Bachelor in Nursing then my Master of Public Health.
Each year, I look forward to recognizing nurses during this special week because I think it provides an opportunity to consider the characteristics and values that drive individuals to enter nursing. It also creates a public forum to officially recognize and thank all of our nurses for their selfless dedication to others and the differences they makes in patients’ lives each and every day.
Nursing is the linchpin that brings everything together. Nurses are the eyes and ears of the physicians when they can’t be at the hospital. Working together, physicians and nurses can provide timely, appropriate, patient-centered care. Physicians tell us every day how much they appreciate the spirit of partnership they share with our nurses as they work to achieve the best possible patient outcomes. Year after year, patient surveys indicate that nurses are one of the most trusted members of the health care team. In fact, patients’ attitudes toward their nurses are the most highly correlated components of the patient experience in terms of overall satisfaction. We consistently receive comments from patients thanking their nurses for keeping them informed throughout their care, teaching them about caring for themselves once they leave the hospital, and demonstrating an ability to anticipate their needs before they have to push the call light.
What is the profile of a good nurse? First, nurses have a strong altruistic need to care for people at the most vulnerable times of their lives. There’s no greater contribution you can give to others than to be with them, care for them, and support them and their families during times of personal health crises. In general, nurses are also highly intelligent, good problem solvers, caring and compassionate, dedicated to their profession and to the well-being of their patients, and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of their patients.
As I speak with nursing graduates today, two themes come through loud and clear. First, nursing is a financially rewarding career that weathers economic down turns. Second, it offers many career options — hospital, physician’s office, rehab, hospice, home health, case management, quality assurance, insurance companies, state agencies, and many other related careers.
At Methodist Richardson Medical Center this week, we are holding several celebratory events that will feature guest speakers, food, and time to socialize with fellow nurses. We’ll be doing clinical rounding throughout the hospital to support our nurses where they work. In addition, we will be presenting two awards — Nurse of the Year and Rookie Nurse of the Year — as we springboard into celebrating National Hospital Week the following week. Our celebrations are from the heart, overflowing with deep appreciation and admiration.
Truly it’s a special privilege to stand with each one of our nurses every day. Caring for our patients and their families is a team effort and each member is an all-star. Together, nurses and other members of the care team are improving clinical care and enhancing the level of service we provide to those who trust us with their overall health and well-being.
If you’re ready to celebrate your career as a nurse, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
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