A Tribute and a Thank You To Nurses: Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nurses in Your Community

By Beth O’Keefe RN


With so many changes in healthcare the expanded role of nurses nurses has become vitally important to a health care team’s success. Managed Long Term Care Nurses, as well as Home Health Care visiting nurses, are often the unsung heroes who keep our aging population living safely and independently at home or in the least restrictive setting possible; helping them preserve their dignity and allowing them to live in the setting of their choice.

As a Registered Nurse Care Coordinator, I’ve gained significant insight into the care, knowledge and expertise rendered by community-based nurses. So even when it isn’t national nurse’s week, it is always important to give a shout out to those who are so dedicated to making a difference in so many lives.

Here are five things that you might not know about nurses:

1. Nurses are educated, but they also educate. Nurses go above and beyond their standard “job description” to teach clients and caregivers how to navigate the health care system while informing them about their health care needs and how to best manage them.

2. Nurses are some of the strongest and most resourceful people you will ever meet. Nurses adapt to a multitude of often complex and stressful situations, and must assess and problem-solve quickly and effectively. Whether it’s dealing with a difficult home situation, an emergency surgery in the operating room, an elderly person with no family supports, or administering wound care, nurses are some of the strongest people you will ever meet.

3. Nurses are the “eyes” and “ears” of physicians. Managed and home care nurses coordinate, educate and provide support for people on an ongoing basis. This means establishing trusting (and often lasting) relationships to help patients safely manage at home. A crucial component of the health care team, nurses help assess, monitor, and educate people outside of office, clinic and hospital settings, while informing doctors about health changes in real time.

4. Nurses aren’t just people you see in hospitals. Nurses work in diverse settings – not just in hospitals and nursing homes. The number of nurses that work in home or community settings is growing. By assisting, managing and coordinating home care, nurses make it possible for people to “age in place” and remain safely in their homes and communities, avoiding hospital or nursing home stays.

5. Nurses provide care and support. Being a nurse is far more than just a “job.” Nurses are often present for joyous moments in people’s lives as well as in times of despair. They help people make informed decisions about treatments, and serve as advocates when you need a shoulder to cry on. At some point in our lives, we all connect with a nurse – and those are the moments when we realize that for all out differences – all people experience similar feelings of hurt, fear, love and joy. It is these times when home health nurses are often there for us.

About the Author:
Beth O’Keefe RN is a Care Coordinator for VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans. Learn more at www.vnsnychoice.org and call 1-866-VNS-0047.