Remarks from the Essence of Nursing Award Recipient
Roger Blanza, BSN, RN
Roger Blanza, BSN, RN, of the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit, was named the 2012 recipient of the Essence of Nursing Award. Below is an excerpt of the speech he delivered at the Nursing Recognition Dinner in May.
I am so humbled standing in front of you all tonight accepting this prestigious Essence of Nursing Award. To be recognized for something I love to do is beyond my expectations. I'm just a simple person... a simple nurse.
I came to America from the Philippines in 1987 with the goal of making a better life for myself, and especially, for my family.
Combining my thirst for knowledge to learn new things and expand my experiences as a nurse, I had worked in several hospitals in Boston in virtually every ICU setting except cardiac surgery. I came to Brigham and Women's 14 years ago and started my career as a staff nurse in the Cardiac Surgery ICU.
The experiences and the vast knowledge I've acquired while working in the Cardiac Surgery ICU have been extraordinary. I've cared for patients who have undergone surgeries from a simple CABG or valve replacement to the most complicated VADs, heart transplants and artificial heart.
At any given time, no matter how hectic the day may be, I try to have a positive outlook. Some of my colleagues sometimes ask me, "Why are you always happy?" "Why not?" I respond. "I am not the patient lying in the bed." If you think about it, being empathetic to our patients gives us a different perspective, especially when dealing with the so-called "hard patients" and their families.
We are all here with one focus - to take care of our patients and, yes, their families. To fulfill our common goal, which is for the betterment of the patient, we work collaboratively with other disciplines. This includes everyone who in any way has contact with the patient or their family.
As nurses, our role in relation to our patients is broad and expansive. We are patient advocates, expert clinicians, comforters, educators and caregivers, just to name a few.
We are nurses because we care for others so much that our patients almost become our extended family. Even with the advent of modern technology related to patient management, there is no substitute for a simple touch when a patient or family is feeling so down. A simple pat on their back or eye to eye contact showing we care and that they are not alone in their journey can make a big difference. My friends, it's so easy to show we care.
We don't live in a perfect world. We all have our differences, problems at home or whatever the case may be. But when everyone brings what is good in each of us to our work, then we can celebrate together and make a positive impact in our patient care with the ultimate goal of helping our patients get better and hopefully go home.
Sometimes the outcomes are not what we expect or want them to be, but if we know deep in ourselves that we did our best, then we can go home with peace of mind.
In my practice, I live with simple philosophies all of us already know. It's better to be nice than to be grouchy. The magic words "thank you" and "please" always go a long way.
Flood somebody with kindness and you will have a very good day. The reality is we need each other to do a good job. To provide the best care for our patients we have to accept everyone's differences and try to diffuse positivity in our work. Try to offer help whenever you can. There are no simple or small things when you do a good deed, and our patients and families know that. Sometimes that small thing actually is what makes a big difference...even just a simple shave. Countless times I've seen a smile on a patient's frail face after a shave. This is just one simple thing but believe me: When they look good, they feel good! My colleagues in cardiac surgery can attest to that!
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to celebrate. Let us uphold with pride and dignity the nobility of our chosen profession.
View photos from Nurse Recognition celebrations at BWH.
View a video of the Nurse Recognition Dinner.