4 Truths About Nurse Heroes

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When the public refers to nurses as heroes, many of us don’t believe them. Heroes, after all, are those who are saving lives, who are running INTO a burning building while other people are running OUT.  Heroes fight wars and keep us safe on the streets.

Though these qualities are heroic, so is nursing. Nurses can handle so many things that other people cannot (body fluids, devastating injuries, end of life, etc).  Nurses have qualities that make us more than just “book smart,” as we equally demonstrate our compassion and caring. Nurses have been known as the most trusted profession in the Gallup poll for 15 years in a row! Nurses are beloved above all others.

Still not convinced?  Below are  four more reasons why nurses are the unsung heroes of healthcare.

Nurses Maintain Composure Despite the Chaos

Patients are at the most vulnerable times of their lives when they are in our care.  We are able to assure them that they are not alone and that although they may be facing a difficult journey, a nurse will be by their side.

When patients are in critical condition, nurses act with urgency yet hold the patient’s hand and reassure the family that their loved one is in good hands. We keep our wits about us in difficult clinical situations and can prioritize in a millisecond. We are a snap shot moment in our patient’s long life but they will NEVER forget us. They may remember what we did for them, but they will most likely not remember our names.  And that’s ok, that’s not why we do it. We do it because we care for people as we would our own family members.

Nurses are Educated Professionals

Completing our education to become a nurse is far from easy, but it’s actually one of the many reasons nurses are heroic. It may take years to complete a nursing program, possibly sacrificing family events and a social life during that time, another heroic component. I know because I started my career as an associate degree nurse and then it took me 8 years to go back to school just to get my bachelor’s degree. Though passing the NCLEX, certification exams, and advancing our degrees is not easy, it’s not the only thing that makes us a nurse. Caring, empathy, and hardiness are just a few of the qualities that a great nurse must possess to continue being viewed as heroes in the eyes of our public.

Nurses are Laser Focused on Patient Care

We may complain about being overwhelmed with a large number of patients, a massive amount of charting, or the constant expectation to do more with less, but as soon as we walk into our patients’ room they become our one and only priority. From the minute they walk through our door until the minute they’re discharged we’re responsible for their overall well being. If we keep a laser-like focus on our patients, everything else has a way of falling into place!

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Nurses are Humble Leaders

Even while reading this article, you may be thinking, “I still don’t think I am a hero.”  Many nurses don’t, but I’m here to tell you otherwise! We don’t just “do our jobs’……we do our jobs with everything we have!  A big part of that is showing humility as leaders.

Humble leaders seek input from others to ensure they have all the facts and are making decisions that are in the best interest of the team. No one person has all the answers. If you think you do, then it’s probably time to reassess.

People want to work for people who value their opinions rather than ignore or dismiss them. Effective, humble leaders are comfortable asking for input and can just as easily be decisive when the situation calls for it,

Like many leadership skills, humility may not come easy to everyone. That’s why it’s important to engage in self-reflection.

One of the most powerful tools is to write in a journal. By chronicling what went well during your interactions or what you could have handled better, you can enhance your perspective and learn from your actions. We all have room for improvement.

How can you be more Heroic?

Go back to school or become certified in your specialty. Learn everything and anything about your role. Above all, treat everyone with kindness and respect!

You can also checkout my keynote on nurse heroes and my Hero by Choice collection to help you in your journey.

Thanks so much for reading. Take care and stay connected!

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Dr. Renee Thompson works with healthcare organizations that want to overcome the leadership and clinical challenges their people face every day.

If you’d like to find out more about her programs, please visit her website

Contact Renee today at to bring her to your organization to talk about ending the cycle of nurse bullying.

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