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Contributions of nurses hailed during annual weeklong observance

By Jamie Lampros - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 13, 2024

Daily Herald file photo

Nurse Heather Johnson scans the barcode on a medication before giving it to one of her patients, Jeff Jarvis, at American Fork Hospital on Thursday, July 19, 2012.

When you go to the doctor or are admitted to the hospital, the one person you’ll probably see the most is a nurse.

Nurses do everything from administering medicine, checking vital signs, monitoring and evaluating patient care, taking a detailed health history, drawing blood, communicating with physicians and much more.

To pay tribute to their hard work and dedication, during National Nurses Week from May 6-12, Intermountain Health honored 18,000 of its own nurses with the theme “Leading with Heart. Practicing with Care.”

“This theme honors nurses and what they do each day,” said Sue Robel, a registered nurse and president of Intermountain Health’s Utah/Idaho region. “They lead with their hearts as they show compassion for patients. At the same time, they provide the best clinical care.”

According to Amy Christensen, Intermountain Health’s regional chief nursing officer, nursing isn’t just a profession, but a vital force driving the delivery of efficient, effective, patient-centered care. Nurses must be skilled in critical thinking and capable of performing under often intense pressure.

“Nurses are there for our patients during times of joy and in times of sorrow,” she said. “No matter the circumstances, they care for patients with compassion and advocate for them.”

Christensen also said nurses provide compassionate support and holistic care to both patients and their families, and they serve as liaisons between patients and health care givers.

“Their expertise in assessment, critical thinking and evidence-based practice ensures patients receive high-quality, safe and personalized care,” she said.

Nurses are especially important in today’s complex health care environment, Robel and Christensen agreed. Not only do they play a multifaceted role that includes direct patient care, but they also provide education while advocating and coordinating services for their patients.

Nurses have a variety of fields to choose from too. They can work in clinics, community centers, hospitals, home care, hospice, surgery and even traveling. They can work full time or part time and transition between different roles and settings throughout their careers.

“At Intermountain, we have exciting opportunities to support both new nurse graduates, front-line nurses who have more experience and nursing leaders in their careers,” Robel said. “We have a residency program for nurse graduates and provide tuition reimbursement for registered nurses who would like to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing.”

Intermountain Health launched an innovative new program called iAspire last year for front-line nurses who want to continue working at the bedside and enhancing their clinical skills. The program rewards them for expanding and sharing their knowledge, experience and clinical expertise.

“Following the successful completion of the activities within the program, nurses earn a pay differential,” Christiensen said. “This program was designed by nurses for nurses who would like to continue working at the bedside and it provides an opportunity for continued growth and recognition.”

In addition, Intermountain Health is launching a new Nurse Leadership Academy pilot program for nurses.

“While we’re just starting the pilot phase with a small group of leaders, we hope to expand the program in the future. This is a development program for nurse leaders at Intermountain,” said Robel. “The program aims to equip nurse leaders with the skills, knowledge and competencies they need to excel in their roles and advance their careers. The program will empower nursing leaders to make significant impacts on patient care and help them unlock their full leadership potential.”

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing is the largest health care profession with nearly 4.7 million registered nurses across the country. The profession is expected to grow by 5% by 2031.

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