Last month marked my three-year anniversary as Chief Nursing Officer. When I stepped into this role, I had been fortunate to work with the amazing UAMS Nursing team for many years, and I was looking forward to working with you on many opportunities, but I had no idea about the challenges ahead. As I have said many times, there is no other team of nurses, therapists, technicians, physicians and others across UAMS Health I would have wanted to face these challenges with. I have never questioned the dedication of our nursing leadership team or their commitment to their team members and our patients, and I am grateful and honored to work with each of you.
Like many of you, these past three years were not what I envisioned. As I go through my mind thinking of the things that have happened, I think of both fun times and challenges. I have recently been reminded of the monumental challenges faced by others and am inspired by their courage. I have been watching Five Days at Memorial on Apple+, an eight-part drama based on actual events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina. It’s difficult to imagine that this took place in America only 17 years ago.
I’ve also been reading The Desperate Hours, Marie Brenner’s account of the COVID pandemic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, an academic health center that cared for some of the first COVID-positive patients in America and was quickly overwhelmed with patients in the spring of 2020. Again, it’s difficult to imagine that this took place in America only two years ago.
As I’ve watched this mini-series and read this book, I’ve repeatedly thought things like, “How can they do that?” “How can they carry those patients up all those stairs?” “How can they take care of COVID patients, not knowing anything about this virus?” Then I remember, they’re nurses.. Nurses often go above and beyond, and these stories show exactly what a nurse’s heart is all about. These two examples of the extraordinary bravery of nurses in extremely difficult circumstances have certainly made me proud to be a nurse.
Although it’s an entirely different scale and scope, but equally heroic in my book, I’d like to give a shout out to Devin Terry, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CPHQ, and her team for earning ANCC PTAP Accreditation, the official accreditation for our New Graduate RN Transition to Practice Program (TTP). This required not only hours of work to document our program, but also interviews with new graduate RNs and their leadership. This important milestone in our Magnet journey recognizes the hard work dedicated to ensuring our nurses get off to a great start when they begin their careers here at UAMS.
Enjoy the holiday weekend and the soak up these last few days of summer, knowing that you’re a nurse and part of an amazing team that does amazing things every day.