Jacqueline Vance, RN

So I’ve been having major writer’s block (literally) and banging my head against a wall to unblock it (not literally) to write a blog about this coming Nurses Day (May 6). I mean, how do you describe in one blog the “awesomeness” of a long-term care nurse? Can I describe it perfectly in a sentence? A few words? A page? And then it hit me … a single word: “Perseverance.”  Perhaps no single word in the human language better describes the nurse in the long-term care continuum.

Think about it. Pull millions out of the Medicare budget per year, despite it being the fasted and largest growing population, and we still show up to work, with less staff and a more clinically complex group of patients. And we make more with less.

We persevere.

Look down on us because surely working in this setting means we are less valuable and worthwhile than out acute care brothers and sisters, and we shake our heads and keep on keeping on.

We work in a “communal setting” and we definitely persevere through Norwalk and C-Diff outbreaks. (For anyone who isn’t familiar with that, take one child with a stomach virus, enlarge him or her to adult size and multiply that by 100!)

 Someone in administration buys an electronic record system that is super great for finance and billing but STINKS in clinical decision support because they NEVER asked the Director of Nursing Service or Medical Director’s opinion, yet we somehow learn how to make workarounds and we persevere.

When person-centered care bumps against regulatory barriers, we persevere. When we pour our compassion out on a person with dementia or a young adult with behavioral issues and are met with hostility, we understand and persevere.

Through snowstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, washed out roads and all types of disasters, we show up and we persevere.

So, dear long-term care nurse, thank you for who you are, for all you do, and God bless you for persevering. For without you, the world would be lost.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse who also is the director of clinical affairs for AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. . A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.