1. Section Editor(s): Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN

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"It's summertime, summertime, sum-sum, summertime," as the fun song from the 1960s goes. Yes, another summer when the kids are freed from their studies, when teachers get some well-needed time off, and when nurses work, as usual. We didn't enter our profession because of the great "perks" such as summers and holidays off, although that would be nice, wouldn't it? We became nurses because we each had an inner desire to help people at their most vulnerable moments. We care for sick children and their parents, all of whom are afraid and look to us for comfort. We care for women in labor and their significant others, teaching them about the natural state of labor, and how they can best cope and be ready for the biggest change they will ever have in their lives. We care for normal newborns, giving them the physiological and nurturing care they require, and we care for the high-risk neonate who needs expert ICU nurses to keep him alive. We teach the new mothers all about their babies, and help the moms to feel secure about taking this new person home. We are medical as well as surgical care nurses, watching over the new post-ops with our great knowledge of post surgical care just as we observe the diabetic new mother or the epileptic new mother for worrisome symptoms. When you really think of it, it's amazing what we do! We staff offices and clinics, caring for ambulatory prenatal women and for pediatric patients. Some of us are nurse practitioners, and function "behind the door" providing primary outpatient care for women and children. And then some of us are nurse anesthetists who help women in labor or children in the OR. The midwives are nurses who follow women through their whole life course, caring for them at their first women's health visit right through pregnancy, then the birth of their child, and then continue to care for them throughout their lives. Pediatric nurse practitioners care for children from birth to college age. What a privilege we all have to be able to witness women's and children's journey through life.


I've used a very special book sometimes when I give speeches to illustrate the varied and exciting things that nurses do: "I Might Be a Nurse" written by Melodie Chenevert. I've owned the book for many years, and I still love it. She wrote it as a coloring book to help inspire young kids to become nurses. I think it's one of the best things I've ever read about why someone might become a nurse.


Recently a friend of mine was having a few health issues. She was diligent in choosing her healthcare providers, trying to find just the right person to diagnose and then treat her somewhat mysterious symptoms. Her experiences with the doctors she chose were not satisfactory. Quick visits, not much history discussed, prescriptions that seemed perfunctory, phone calls not returned. She then remembered all the discussions she and I had had about nurse practitioners, and decided to switch to a nurse practitioner nearby. What a difference she found! She felt she was listened to, treated with respect, and that the nurse practitioner would be there for her to see this problem through to the ultimate cure. When my friend was in that nurse's office waiting room at another time, another woman engaged her in conversation when she heard that my friend was waiting for the nurse practitioner. "What does a nurse practitioner do?" she asked. My friend answered with a litany of all things she now knew: she listens to you, answers your questions, returns your phone calls, and cares about every part of you. "I think I'll go to a nurse practitioner as well" the woman said. My friend couldn't wait to tell me the good news that she was on her way to cure, and that she had been able to articulate the role of the nurse!


So as you (hopefully) take some time for yourself this summer, I hope you'll reflect on what a great profession you've chosen, and how you have had such an amazing impact on people's lives. Make sure to use that vacation for fun, fun, fun. Your fulfilling work as a nurse will be waiting for you when you get back.