Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learning to be a nurse

Eighteen years ago, when I first came to Backus as an ER tech, I was taken under the tutelage of a group of nurses who, over the course of 5 years, helped me become a nurse. They taught me much, but most important was the idea that I was an advocate.
Leadership, they taught me, was not "moving up the ladder", it was advocating for my fellow nurses and my patients and their families, and in so doing, our hospital and community. It is more about service to others than authority over others.

Recently, I said farewell, but not goodbye, to one of those nurses, Lesa Hanson, who moved to Texas to be near family. An amazing nurse and person, who taught me to stand up and stand proud. Thank you Lesa, you taught me about leadership through example.
Lately I have called on those lessons more and more. We are engaged in tough contract negotiations for our first contract. Every time I think we are making progress we seem to have an unproductive night, where management's proposals are just plain unacceptable.

The bottom line is that we'll get NOTHING unless we are willing to fight for it. This is where the lessons of leadership come in. Each of us needs to stand up for each other.

I believe that everything we go through plays a part in who we become.  I was blessed to come to know such a remarkable group of nurses when I came to Backus, your example of making your coworkers and patients your first priority influences me to this day.

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