1. Section Editor(s): Davis, Charlotte BSN, RN, CCRN

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When celebrating Nurses Week this month, let's reflect on the immense power of positive change that lies within each of us. As nurses, we impact patient experiences, our work environments, organizational goals, and evidence-based treatment guidelines. Along with this influence comes a responsibility to be professionally accountable for our clinical interventions and interpersonal behaviors, including our interactions with patients, families, communities, and colleagues.

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Nursing remains the most trusted profession in America, according to the 2016 Gallup honesty/ethics poll. To maintain this reputation, we must stay dedicated to advancing our profession to meet the complex healthcare needs of our patient population, which requires professionalism, teamwork, effective communication skills, and clinical mastery in our specialty areas. Each of us can have a dramatic effect within our work areas by modeling professional interpersonal behaviors, which includes being respectful, knowledgeable, and approachable; a patient safety advocate; and a mentor to our peers. You can instill a sense of ownership in your peer group by demonstrating how to effectively collaborate with other healthcare team members, coaching a new nurse to your clinical area, or utilizing your leadership skills to intervene when deviations from acceptable behaviors are noted and address the variance in a timely manner.


By prioritizing professional accountability, you can inspire your colleagues to seek innovative solutions to achieve organizational goals. To meet these goals, you must thoroughly understand the standards and metrics against which professional performance is measured by your healthcare organization. Examples include being responsible for adherence to clinical expectations and nursing interventions, and ensuring that your licensure renewal and continuing-education requirements are met. Each nurse is a valued asset to our profession in which we wear many hats and skillfully juggle numerous responsibilities.


Positive transformation begins with one person-yourself. Roles such as peer coach, mentor, patient safety advocate, expert clinician, educator, team member, and leader all have the potential to change lives. As we enter Nurses Week, embrace your clinical and leadership skills; be guided by an ethical compass that's founded on integrity, compassion, and a constant quest for improving our profession; and emulate the accountability that's necessary to meet our vision for professional nursing practice. Help make 2017 the "year of the healthy nurse!"