"I'm a nurse what's your superpower?"

I recently heard this question and, as a nurse, this question resonates. I spend a significant amount of my life in hospitals, assisted livings and nursing homes. I interact with nurses daily. I see the extraordinary dedication these nurses show to their profession and patients. Last month included Nurses Week celebrating nurses and the work in which they do.


National Nurses Week is celebrated every year from May 6-12, ending on Florence Nightingale's birthday.

Times have changed since Florence was providing care and we would all like to think for the better. However as technology and pharmaceuticals have increased the length and in many cases the quality of life they have also increased the acuity of patients living with chronic and acute illnesses. In turn the acuity of patients requiring care in the hospital and facility settings has increased.

As the focus has changed over the years from reacting to health crisis or a disease state to prevention and with that, keeping patients in the community in outpatient treatment in the primary care setting. The patients who are treated in the hospital or receive care in long-term care centers are sicker and may require more complicated treatment and care.

As health care demands increase and health care dollars are decreasing as insurance companies pay less, nurses are asked to do more and more and are, in some facilities, facing the demands of decreased staffing.

When I ask nurses what the biggest challenges are in doing their jobs, the responses ranged from working with the constraints of insurance companies paying less for services, supplies and medications, working with less staffing, increased charting and documentation and feeling unappreciated.

I think that the general public has no concept of what goes on behind the scenes and how much more nurses are doing than you can actually see.

When I hear negativity about nurses I cringe because I know how hard nurses work and how committed most nurses are. I don't debate that for all the wonderful, caring and compassionate nurses that unfortunately there are those who don't seem to have the same work ethic or exhibit the highest quality care or passion for the profession but those are the exception not the rule.

As the demands of the nursing profession increase and paperwork and documentation increase know that your nurse came to work with the goal of caring for you and providing the best care. Thank you nurses for all you do!

Jill Rosner is a registered nurse, certified geriatric care manager and owner of Rosner Healthcare Navigation. She provides patient advocacy and care management services to clients with health and aging issues. Contact her at JillRosnerRN@aol.com.