1. Twiss, Julie RN, BSN, ONC
  2. NAON President 2014-2015

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Life just seems strange sometimes. There'll be no rhyme or reason for an event or a tragedy. How do we make sense of it all?

Julie Twiss, RN, BSN... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President 2014-2015

How is it that someone becomes homeless? How does a child go hungry? How does an elderly woman go through the winter without heat? Or, maybe she has made the choice to have heat but therefore goes without food and/or medication.


I recently have gone through my own life-changing event. Life or death: I must choose. Without treatment, I was told in September I'd be dead by the end of November. Well, that puts life in perspective! I had the resources to make the decision and had family, friends, church family, NAON family, and coworkers to help support me for any means necessary needed to recover and for business to go on as usual. Praise the Lord.


The primary care physician, the specialists, the surgeons, the nurses, the technicians in every department, the housekeepers, the maintenance personnel, the admissions personnel as well as volunteers who touched my life recently I am so thankful for. And so thankful they answered the call to do what they do.


In my preparation for this greeting, I typed "calling" and clicked on the thesaurus just to see what would come up. The thesaurus lists the following words for the same meaning: "Profession, Vocation, Mission, Passion, Occupation, Business, Work, Requesting, and Visiting."


Nursing is a profession. You are a professional. Esteemed by Americans as the "most trusted." This is an earned designation. The schooling, training, knowledge, and experience have granted you the right to call yourself a professional.


Nursing is also your vocation-it is a talent to be a nurse. Not everyone can do it. The empathy required to care for someone at their most vulnerable and make them feel safe is an innate task.


Nursing is your mission. Every employer has a mission statement, usually to provide the best care to the surrounding community. Be the employer of choice. Be the healthcare provider of choice, etc. Have you ever thought of your own mission? One of my favorite interview questions I ask is to "describe yourself as a nurse." This takes time and it takes reflection. How often do we stop and take a look at ourselves to determine our purpose and direction in life?


Is nursing your passion? Most nurses say they love people and want to take care of them. Passion is a "desire" and "urge" so to speak. As nurses, we are to display compassion at all times, but that is different from passion. To me, passion is, in your line of work as a nurse, out of the options of employment; you wouldn't be doing anything else.


Nursing is an occupation. The work we do does indeed pay the bills. As years of experience, knowledge, and expertise grow, typically so does our salary. My biggest challenge is not to have the nurse just clock in and clock out. Being engaged in the occupation that one has chosen can be a challenge. Employers are constantly looking for ways to engage their staff to improve outcomes and take pride in their work.


Nursing is a business. This has been a difficult concept for healthcare to adapt. Nursing isn't charged for but is the largest expense in any facility. As a nurse, we make or break the reputation of the facility or agency of which we are employed. And let's face it; healthcare is big business.


Nursing is work. Did you attend nursing school to put your feet up on the desk and eat chocolate? No. You went to nursing school to empty those bedpans, make the beds, help keep a patient comfortable, give those medications, round with physicians, and chart. Believe it or not.


Nursing is requesting. We are our patients' advocates, are we not? We take the big picture as well as the data points gleamed from our assessments and place it in perspective for the specialists, patients, and their loved ones to help make the appropriate decisions for care; whether it be life-saving or end of life with dignity.


Nursing is visiting. With all the rules and regulations, documentation, and technology needs to care for patients these days, I often hear what nurses miss most is the time to "visit" with their patients. Research shows that satisfaction of patients improves when even physicians "sit" during their rounds. We have had to adapt our visit to brief encounters, a touch, focused contact when with the patient such as eye contact, paying attention to the patient and not the task at hand, hourly rounding, and bedside report. Most nurses in Medical Centers work 12-hour shifts; therefore, patients may encounter a certain nurse only once during the stay versus several days in a row. Establishing a rapport and a relationship quickly is essential to make a positive impact.


You have answered the call, not only to be a nurse, but a member of NAON. If you have earned the ONC designations, you have taken that extra step to acknowledge your profession and the orthopaedic specialty.


Thank you for your professionalism. I thank you for your passion to make it a priority to care for others. I thank you for making nursing your vocation. I am fortunate that you all come to work every day prepared to meet the worst and the best of any given healthcare situation. I am blessed that nurses made it their mission to take care of myself: and my loved ones during my time of need. I am fortunate to know you in NAON and making nursing more than just an occupation.


I am fortunate that the nursing staff and physicians were advocates for my well-being, they took that big picture and saved my life. They did it with their expertise, hugs, a touch, a shared tear, a laugh, running into the room with the crash cart-couple of times, visiting with my sons and giving them encouragement, being friendly, being quiet when I needed quiet, support, and most of all compassion.


God Bless You All.