Counting down to Nurses’ Week: Free tool to help improve the professional image of nursing

Nurse Leader Insider, April 13, 2009

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As HCPro continues its countdown to Nurses’ Week, our focus moves to improving the image of nursing. Bedside caregivers are at the forefront of healthcare every day as they care for patients and families and interact with physicians and peers. So isn’t it time to set high standards and improve the image of nursing?

During your Nurses’ Week preparation, put celebrating the profession on your list of activities and empower your nurses to take control of their image.

Start by giving staff nurses pointers on how to present a positive image inside and outside of the organization. You can do this by downloading and handing out this week’s free tool “Tips for elevating the image of nursing” by Karen L. Tomajan, MS, RN, BC, CNAA, CRRN, director, nursing quality and special projects at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. The tool teaches nurses how to effectively project their best professional image in every interaction. For example, it encourages nurses to present a professional image by:

  • Identifying themselves as a professional nurse. They can do this by keeping their name tag visible, introducing themselves by their full name, and telling patients, families, and hospital staff they are an RN or LPN.
  • Preparing and practicing a 30-second “elevator” speech about their role as a professional nurse. It is important that staff communicate how they have made a difference for patients in their care.
  • Describing their independent actions to prevent complications and save lives. Many patients and families assume all nurses do is follow doctors’ orders. When nurses intervene to address a problem, they should let others know how their actions made the difference.

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