National Nurses Week May 6 - 12, 2018: Nurses Share their advice for future nurses

Each year, National Nurses Week celebrates the profession of nursing and the vital roles nurses play in advancing health care. The annual week of recognition begins May 6, and includes National Student Nurses Day (May 8) and National School Nurse Day (May 9), concluding on Florence Nightingale's birthday (May 12). To learn more about the history of National Nurses Week, click here.

The American Nurses Association sets a theme every year for National Nurses Week. The 2018 theme is "Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence."

In the spirit of this year's theme, the University of Rochester School of Nursing posed a question to our community of nurses:

What advice would you give to future nurses?

We are so pleased to share the insight we received from faculty, staff, alumni, students, and nurses in the Rochester area!

Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP

Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, is Dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing and Vice President of the University of Rochester Medical Center. In addition to her leadership roles, Dean Rideout remains an active clinician, serving as a pediatric advanced practice nurse at Golisano Children's Hospital, caring for infants and children with ostomies.

Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP: The essence of nursing is service. Always remember that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the people for whom we care. We often enter their lives during their most vulnerable times – and can impact their lives forever. Be passionate about serving!

Molly Stokes, BSN, RN-BC, CNRN

Molly Stokes, BSN, RN-BC, CNRN, is a senior staff nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She is an alumna of the UR School of Nursing.

Grow where you are planted. Learn from those with lots of experience how to best care for your patients. Work hard to advocate for those in your care and your co-workers. Reap the rewards of a job well done. Mentor and coach others as you become the experienced one. Don't switch jobs every year or two- get comfortable and gain all you can. Nursing changes constantly. Be curious to learn something new everyday.

Ann Zimmerman, BS, RN

Ann Zimmerman, BS, RN, is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Nursing's RN to BS program. She has over 37 years of experience in nursing and is currently a student in the nursing education master's program.

Ann Zimmerman, BS, RN: I would tell future nurses to never stop learning! I would also tell them to role model with exemplary nurses at all stages of their professional career.

Michelle Roach, RN, MSN, PNP

Michelle Roach, RN, MSN, PNP, is an assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing as well as Medical/Nursing Director for Camp Good Days and Special Times. She is an alumna of the School of Nursing.

Michelle Roach, RN, MSN, PNP: Never be afraid to ask for help. You will learn something new everyday, embrace it and enjoy what a difference you are making in people's lives.


Amy Webb, BA, BSN, TNCC, ACLS, PALS, is a 2010 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Nursing. She is an emergency/trauma RN at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California.

Amy Webb, BA, BSN, TNCC, ACLS, PALS: Dive in! Sign up for as many medical-related experiences that you can. Conferences, job shadowing, certifications, and volunteering in the field, are all things that can offer you exposure and knowledge. Nursing is a competitive field. Think of what might set you apart...while giving you opportunities to learn any chance you get!

Janet Scala, RN

Janet Scala, RN, is a University of Rochester School of Nursing alumna and retired OR nurse.

Janet Scala, RN: Like so many aspects of patient care, the future of nursing will be exciting, highly technology-driven, and result in better outcomes. Yet, not to be lost in all this is the unique value of the nurse-patient contact. Healing is facilitated not only by the best technology, but also by that unmatched human touch.

As a long-time-ago School of Nursing graduate, my advice is that you not be merely technocrats, but that you keep in mind what is best about the nursing profession - warm, caring, skilled human contact and support."

Rossana Navarra, RN, BS, CPAN

Rossanna Navarra, RN, BS, CPAN, is a University of Rochester School of Nursing alumna and Assistant Nurse Manager at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Rossana Navarra, RN, BS, CPAN: As Albert Einstein once said, "the only source of knowledge is experience." I truly believe that at the heart of who we are and what we become as nurses begins with the experiences we have throughout our career. My advice to future nurses would be to have as many experiences as a nurse that you possibly can. We have so many choices on what specialty, what patient population and what setting to work in - diversify yourself and take advantage of many different opportunities.

What you learn in one experience carries on with you into another experience. The value of having done something or having seen something before is priceless. The opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with other peers is empowering. When you first start out as a nurse you learn the basics. From there, soak in all the knowledge and experiences you can. Then, be ultimately humbled to be able to share your knowledge and experiences with others. After over 26 years here at Strong Memorial Hospital as a nurse I have a story, full of experiences - not only from the different areas I've worked in over the years but also from the amazing nurses I've worked with and more importantly from the patients I've taken care of. Even after all these years my story and my experiences are far from over. I love what I do and I truly feel blessed to have had nursing as my career. I wish you all the best in yours, go out and start your story.

Javauni Forrest, MA, MHC-LP

Javauni Forrest, MA, MHC-LP, is a recent graduate of the University of Rochester School of Nursing Accelerated Bachelor's Program for Non-Nurses; he is going on to enroll in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Javauni Forrest, MA, MHC-LP: Nursing promotes academic and career versatility, while providing an opportunity to impact the lives of the patients we serve. This is a privilege that few other professions offer, so use it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person and a professional because both are necessary to propel your nursing practice forward.

Maria Marconi, EdD, RN, CNE

Maria Marconi, Ed,D, RN, CNE is the specialty director of two master's programs at the University of Rochester School of Nursing: Health Care Organization & Management and Nursing Education.

Maria Marconi, EdD, RN, CNE: Lean in. Get involved. Don't stand on the sidelines. You've graduated from an amazing program which gave you clinical skills and leadership skills. Become a positive leader in your first job and every job you have in your career. Take what you have learned here, continue to learn from the experienced nurses you will work with to make our health care systems continuously better.

Above: Prof. Marconi teaching students in the MS Nursing Education program.

Natalie Liebert, RN-BC, CPHON, BSN

Natalie Liebert, RN-BC, CPHON, BSN, is a hematology/oncology RN at Golisano Children's Hospital. She is an alumna of the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and will receive a master's degree in nursing education this spring.

Natalie Liebert, RN-BC, CPHON, BSN: Nursing is a respected and fulfilling calling. As a second-career nurse, my only regret is that I did not find nursing sooner. There are so many opportunities and different areas where one can specialize as a nurse. Now I am able to combine my education and nursing backgrounds as I finish my master's in nursing education - all with the flexibility of scheduling that allows me to spend most days with my young daughter.

Kimberly Olfano

Kimberly Olfano is currently a University of Rochester School of Nursing student in the Accelerated Bachelor's Program for Non-Nurses.

Kimberly Olfano: Stay motivated. There will be days when you feel stressed and need to take care of yourself. View every day as a learning opportunity. Be comfortable with imperfection and confident in your assessment and communication skills. Don't be a harsh critic on yourself. Embrace change. Ask for help when you are doubtful and need a second opinion. Treat your nursing colleagues with the utmost respect. You never know how they can help you advice your career. Join committees and become involved. Have your voice heard and don't be afraid to share new ideas for way to improve patient care.

Joy Grow, BSN, RN

Joy Grow, BSN, RN, is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Nursing and works as an assistant nurse manager in urology at UR Medicine.

Joy Grow, BSN, RN: You need your coworkers, whether it is a tech, a secretary, an LPN, an RN. This job is fast-paced and can be difficult - you need teamwork to get it done. Communication with coworkers is a must - be nice and ask to talk. You get further with honey than vinegar. (This works with patients too!)

Jane Tuttle, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP

Jane Tuttle, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, is Professor Emerita at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Janice Kenney, MS, FNP, ANP

Janice Kenney is a University of Rochester School of Nursing alumna who recently retired after 40 years as a nurse practitioner.

Janice Kenney, MS, FNP, ANP: Be open to possibilities. Remember the art of nursing must balance the science. Listen to your patients - they will reveal what the problem is they are having.

I have been an RN for 46 years - forty of those years as a nurse practitioner. My career culminated in a geriatric practice where I made house calls. This was the most rewarding end to my career. My thesis at the University of Rochester was on therapeutic touch. Over my many years, I have used touch daily in my work with patients. It is both healing and allows a form of communication that means more to them than any spoken word. I am grateful for many who mentored me and taught me over the years. I have had a very diverse career as a nurse practitioner in public health, geriatrics, family practice, communicable disease, neurology and as an educator. I am now looking into ways to volunteer and use my skills with those who need them most. I may be retired but still have the passion for health care which attracted me to be a nurse practitioner.

Caitlynn Harmon, RN, BSN

Caitlynn Harmon, RN, BSN, is a pediatric critical care transport nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center and is a student in the University of Rochester School of Nursing's pediatric nurse practitioner program.

Caitlynn Harmon, RN, BSN: Follow your heart! There are so many different areas of nursing to explore. Find the area that sparks your interest the most. If you find an area that keeps you engaged, and excited you will never have a boring day at work.

Above: One of the Mercy Flight planes used for pediatric critical care transport.

As a member of the Pediatric Critical Care Transport Team we travel across upstate New York and beyond, transporting and treating sick children and bringing them to Golisano Children's Hospital. We travel by helicopter, ambulance and fixed wing jet. I never would have imagined myself in the position I am currently in, but I love it! It just proves how many options there are for a nursing career.

Lisa Fleming, BS, RN, CGRN

Lisa Fleming, BS, RN, CGRN, is a nurse manager at Highland Hospital and is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Lisa Fleming, BS, RN, CGRN: You are embarking on a great adventure and you have the ability to impact lives in a significant way. Never stop learning and growing - this is how best serve you patients. Stay the course; there will be good times and challenging times ahead. Just remember: you are a nurse. Not only is this your job, it is who you are!

I graduated from UR School of Nursing when I was in my late forties, and here I am again in my mid-fifties and back in school - never stop growing.

Madeline Hubbard Schmitt, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP

Madeline Hubbard Schmitt ’65N, ’70 (MA), PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, is Professor Emerita at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Madeline Hubbard Schmitt, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP: Hang on to your vision for nursing and health care: appreciate the journey. Work at it step by step. You never know where it is going to lead. It may be years before you see the changes you envisioned.

My professional passion is interprofessional collaboration. I hung onto this vision for many years and it has been a rewarding journey in the end.

Emily Chamberlain, RN

Emily Chamberlain, RN, is an intensive care registered nurse working toward her critical care certification at Jones Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of UR Medicine. She became an RN at age 20 and is studying for her BSN at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Emily Chamberlain, RN: Understand that all new nurses are entry-level. It is more appropriate to build wisdom than it is to rush your career to the next and best thing. Nurses don’t prepare for the test. They prepare for the moment when a nurse is needed in means of patient safety and quality of care provided.

Kathy Brown, RN, MN, CWOCN

Kathy Brown, RN, MN, CWOCN, has been employed as a nurse for over four decades, with 35 years focused on wound and ostomy care. She is an alumna of the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Kathy Brown, RN, MN, CWOCN: Always remember: one day we will all be patients. I am proud to say I never left the bedside and always did hands-on care even as a Nurse Manager.

This page will be updated throughout the week of May 6 - 12, 2018. We're happy to accept more submissions of advice for future nurses. Although we might not be able to share every submission during National Nurses Week, we appreciate all submissions and will find a way to share your stories!

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