What are your favorite memories of nursing school from your student days?
I vividly remember CPR training; we laughed a lot, looking at manikins’ faces. The instructor approached us and calmly stated that we were just hiding our fear to imagine holding someone’s life in our hands. These strong words have changed me.
How did your first year of RN practice compare to your nursing practice today?
My first year was much more nervous. As an Ortho nurse in Romania, every single day, I would encounter something really new: injuries, behaviors, and organizational issues. Today, I approach daily practice more calmly and teach student nurses to develop this attitude.
What were some nursing practices that you used in your earlier years that are no longer used today? Why are they no longer used?
In Romania in the late 2000s, we would assess vital signs using mercury thermometers; these are just too risky for any busy settings, so they’ve been banned.
How have specific persons or events significantly impacted your practice over the years?
My immigration to the U.S. had the largest impact, challenging me to grow professionally. I had to pass NCLEX and adapt culturally; I guess the U.S. job market for nurses is just much more competitive.
How have you impacted the nursing practice of others?
Mainly through student teaching, I take it seriously. I mean, I invest much effort in showing them how to follow all internal protocols without leaving their own critical thinking out of this equation.
What contributions have you made to nursing in the areas of leadership, provision of care, and/or evidence-based practice?
I’ve created a leadership-focused training unit for new nurses; we are teaching them to bear responsibility and coordinate effectively. For care provision, I’ve participated in a hospital QI project…optimizing the setting to remove distractions promoting medication errors.
What challenges in today’s nursing can be improved using lessons from the past?
Inpatient settings and nurses are still overloaded. The COVID-19 crisis, I mean the pandemic’s peak, has been a decent lesson. We learned, for one more time, that attracting more funds and human resources to HCBS helps; we should take this strategy seriously.
Who is your favorite famous nurse from nursing history?
Hazel Johnson-Brown – a true leader!
How do you use that famous nurse’s examples in your own practice?
Johnson-Brown achieved everything despite barriers, you know, her race, biases, and prejudice in the 1940s. Nothing would stop her; she knew exactly what she was achieving and why. I try to adopt the same mindset as a nurse educator; I want those learning from me to feel safe.
Based on your nursing past, what advice would you give to the new nurse today?
Don’t be afraid of caring “too much”! I’ve seen too many patients fail to ask for help until it’s too late.