We are privileged to carry out the work of our profession in an environment rich in talent and resources. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we have access to the most up-to-date clinical advances, education, technology and equipment. Teams of nurses and colleagues from other disciplines extend the boundaries of knowledge and its application to improve the lives of our patients and families. Each day we do our best on behalf of patients because we know our ability to improve care is part of our commitment as professionals.
Like other professions, nursing is an essential part of the society within which it exists. Our social responsibility is fulfilled, in part, through the relationships we develop with patients and families. Relationships and caring practices are central to excellent nursing practice in every setting.
In this issue of BWH Nurse, we highlight four of our nurses who are among the many who volunteer their time and expertise to patients in environments far different from BWH. Nurse practitioners Shannah Young and Stephanie Ahmed are volunteering to improve care in rural South African villages; ED nurse Paul Saavedra-Lauzon spends his summer vacation caring for children with HIV and AIDS; and Sharon Wong, a NIC on Tower 8, provides onsite care for youth campers and administers flu shots each fall to the elderly in Chinatown.
For Paul, it’s the personal gratification of seeing campers grow into counselors over time. Volunteering at this summer camp allows Paul to build and sustain relationships with patients over years, one aspect of nursing not typical in his specialty of emergency nursing. In addition to delivering care to patients in South Africa, Stephanie and Shannah are working to advance the care of patients through their efforts to equip a clinic exam room and to advance the practice of nursing by offering support, education and training to the nurses there. And we see Sharon bringing her clinical experience and expertise to the youngsters in a summer camp. As Sharon notes, “There are a lot of us who like to volunteer to help the community.”
How we live out our practice changes with society, technology, innovations, economics and politics. However, the central mission of the nursing profession remains the same. Our vision to provide excellent nursing care to patients and families is part of the mission of our profession. These nurses represent the many at BWH who live out our profession’s continuing commitment to society and to those receiving nursing care at BWH and beyond.
Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN
Chief Nursing Officer and
Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services