A while back I was asked to speak to a group of graduating nurses — new to practice and excited to start their careers. As I spoke, I gave insights from Florence Nightingale and the changing face of healthcare. I was feeling confident that I had inspired them to spread their wings, expand their practice; the world was their oyster, as the saying goes.

Then I joined a group gathered and heard one young nurse say, “I want to work in a skilled nursing facility.” The sneers she received from her peers and responding comments in reaction to her statement caused me to wish I had presented a different message to these new nurses.

My message would have been the following: 

“My esteemed colleagues, as we come together to celebrate a time of transition, I want to reflect upon the changing face of nursing. Nurses must advance their knowledge and skills in all settings. Patients no longer are segmented. Their needs are equally as great in the skilled nursing facility as what is seen in the hospital. 

“Nurses manage complex, chronic conditions in the home to the long-term care facility.  They use every tool they know to communicate, educate, manage and assure that the highest level of care is given to those who trust them with their health and well-being.

“We can no longer compartmentalize the practice of nursing. The skills, knowledge and abilities needed in today’s care settings require depth and expertise plain and simple.  We must work together, sharing our knowledge, learning from each other to improve quality and achieve the outcomes that we want for our loved ones and yes ourselves.  Nursing is both a science and an art that is practiced wherever there are those who are in need of our care.”

Clearly, what is required of today’s nurses to care for their patients is not what our mother (or father) practiced back in their day. 

Martie Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ, is Chief Nursing Officer at Medline Industries.