Jane Randall has been a registered nurse for 25 years of her life.
For her, quality service is very important because it improves the experience of patients. Today Jane is sharing her vision of nursing from her extensive experience, which covers nursing, teaching, and research.
Jane: Well, actually when I started as a university student, I was very disoriented about my professional future. I was struck by nursing as I was getting to know it. First I started studying psychology at a community college in Virginia, but I didn’t finish. At that time, my independence was very important to me. My mother, who was a hospital nurse, understood my desires and helped me obtain a clinic assistant position.
First I worked in the sterilization service. It was the time when everything was done manually and reused. Then I decided to study nursing and combine studies and work. Nursing began to call me when I worked with people with psychiatric problems. Then, when caring for patients who had suffered burns.
I was aware that without care, life is not possible.
At the same time, I understood that care has two unavoidable aspects: the scientific and the human aspect. One without the other fails to give the appropriate response to the need for help from people when they get sick or when they need help to maintain their health.
Jane: It is often thought that the professions of health and social work are vocational because they work with people living in compromised life situations, with illness, resource problems, pain, suffering, life changes … With this argument, given the hardness of work, nurses must be vocational to cope with it.
On the other hand, given the origin of nursing linked to religious congregations. The vocation can be understood as that care is something linked to a predisposition to help but that is not related to scientific or academic parameters. A work based on the good work of the person who carries it out, which is almost innate. Today precisely our progress is due to the ability of nurses to convert the act of care into an act that can be reviewed, argued or organized under scientific postulates.
For me the nurse is not born with a vocation, to be a nurse you learn with study and relationship with others. It is something emotional and rational at the same time.
Jane: It is a very broad question. But to answer simply I will say that I think it’s going well
I think it progresses. Although sometimes I feel a bit frustrated when I see the little recognition and visibility we have. Especially in some institutions and health administrations, which are still anchored in disease-centered, technocratic or hierarchical models. And, those institutions despite their speeches, definitions of values, e.t.c. have not yet understood the value of care, nor of interdisciplinary collaboration.
However, despite this, I see the profession going in the right direction because nurses have been consolidating a knowledge base on an ethical base. Which is increasingly clear and evident. We have learned to justify our actions from caring for people. While we have been defining the lines of collaborative work with doctors.
We have defined the lines of autonomous action, focusing on the response to the needs of people related to health. We have worked on the idea of health focusing on the well-being of the person and not only on the approach to the disease. Nothing easy, given the preeminence of medicine and the disease-centered approach and treatments, of most health institutions.
I think that today we are important to society for two aspects. First, by the patient’s understanding as an autonomous subject despite the dependence that the health problem generates. Second, to show the importance of the activities of daily life, for the maintenance of health, recovery or end of life, and that as much as possible as the person performs them.
There is much to go but we are increasingly better placed, intellectually and ethically. And that makes the social and health context change in reality and care emerges as a decisive factor.
The future is promising because nurses, whatever the workplace, are very aware that we have the necessary competences for the care related to people’s health and, increasingly, we are increasingly looking for managers and politicians to generate opportunities for our development.
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