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Five things you may not have known about your nurse

Advocates, experts, coordinators. Nurses are a cornerstone of the hospital environment. We asked Deb Cathcart, our chief nurse executive, to share some surprising facts about nurses and the nursing profession.
Every day, University of Minnesota Health nurses demonstrate an unwavering commitment to heal, discover and educate so that our patients may lead longer, healthier lives.
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What comes to mind when you think of nurses?

It may be the image of a busy hospital employee—the person taking your blood pressure or temperature and fulfilling other tasks associated with hospital care. While there is truth in that description, the full scope of nursing goes beyond what you see during your visit to a hospital, or in scenes from your favorite medical drama.

Every day, nurses demonstrate an unwavering commitment to heal, discover and educate so that our patients may lead longer, healthier lives. We asked University of Minnesota Health Chief Nurse Executive Deb Cathcart, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, to share some surprising and insightful facts about our University of Minnesota Health nurses and the nursing profession as a whole. Here’s what she had to say:

Nurses advocate on behalf of patients.

As nurses, we value input from our patients and will do everything possible to advocate on their behalf. Our University of Minnesota Health nurses are driven by the principles of the Nursing Professional Practice Model, which include being present, actively caring, listening and using an evidence-based approach to guide nursing. Nurses care about you and your health, and want to provide education, reassurance and instruction whenever possible. We are here to advocate for you through every step of your healthcare journey with us.

Nurses are healthcare experts.

Lifelong learning is a core value of the nursing profession. The nurse caring for you or your loved one likely obtained an additional degree or certification in his or her area of expertise and regularly participates in educational activities over the course of his or her nursing career. Qualified nurses perform complex healthcare procedures, such as operating dialysis machines for kidney patients, administering chemotherapy for cancer patients and operating IV pumps. As nurses progress in their careers, they may take on diverse roles in our hospitals, the Clinics and Surgery Center and our other locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. You’ll find them working as  care coordinators, imaging specialists, patient educators, nurse managers, lactation consultants and organizational executives. If you encounter a manager during your next visit to one of our clinics or hospitals, chances are that person was a nurse for many years prior to stepping into a management role. Nursing is a diverse profession that requires dedication to education on all levels. 

Nursing is a unique profession.

By definition from the American Nurses Association, nursing protects, promotes and optimizes health and abilities, prevents illness and injury and alleviates suffering through diagnosis and treatment. Nurses have a level of independence and their role is unlike any of the others in the healthcare field. Though our work may be complex, our goal is not. We are compassionate advocates of your healthcare, providing engaged care at every step in your journey. We are here to help you heal, and that passion spurs our dedication in our profession. We will serve as your advocate, confidant and educator while moving you on the path to for a healthier, longer life.

Nurses are masters of collaboration and coordination.

Nurses often serve as the link between you and other members of your healthcare team. They collaborate with doctors, occupational and physical therapists, medical assistants, physicians, social workers, care coordinators and other members of a healthcare team to ensure a seamless experience for every patient.

Nurses are here for you 24/7.

When you are admitted to the hospital, nurses are there for you 24/7. Nurse staffing on hospital units is designed to ensure continuity of care for patients, and nurses are at the center of the care. These units are staffed with nurses 24 hours a day. That may mean long days or odd hours for some, but this doesn’t stop them from working diligently to advance your health and well-being.

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