The human factor makes the hero

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Patty Taylor
Patty Taylor

Ask anyone to describe a nurse's attributes, and you will likely hear some rendition of the following: A nurse is intelligent, detail-oriented, dedicated, an astute multi-tasker, meticulous and thorough.

While these descriptors are accurate, I believe what makes nurses deserving of the hero moniker is the human factor that can too easily be overlooked or undervalued. Patient stories shared with me throughout my career illustrate how nurses intuitively assess a situation and offer solace amidst the most difficult circumstances. The stories range from a nurse gently and reassuringly squeezing the hand of a patient undergoing an excruciatingly painful and embarrassing procedure, to quietly offer empathy and condolences to a patient's daughter as she weeps over the loss of her father, to playfully distracting a woman monitoring her own vital signs with trepidation as she awaits her pacemaker surgery. These seemingly insignificant gestures – the human factor – epitomize heroism as they go unseen by most, yet they change the lives of patients who feel alone, frightened or even devastated.

Ansell, a world leader in protection solutions, recognizes the unwavering commitment and efforts of this inspiring and tireless group with its annual Ansell H.E.R.O. Nurse Service Award. The H.E.R.O. Nurse Service Award gives the unsung hero's story a voice and a stage to be appropriately acknowledged and celebrated. You can nominate your hero today, as nominations are currently being accepted.

Until April 26, 2014, Americans are invited to nominate their nurse hero online at On April 27, 2014, voting will begin and continue through May 24, 2014. The top 10 nominees with the most votes will receive the Ansell H.E.R.O. Nurse Service Award plaque, a nursing reference book of their choice, and have their story profiled online. No purchase necessary. The full official rules for this promotion can be found at

Patty Taylor, RN, BA, is the vice president of professional education and clinical affairs for Ansell. She has more than 20 years of experience in nursing, focusing on perioperative safety, quality and education.

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