Nursing News

Nurses Share in Tribute to the American Nurse

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By Debra Wood, RN, contributor 

December 3, 2012 - Nurses from across the country have shared their stories with a photographer/writer who turned their passion for the profession into The American Nurse, a tribute to the men and women who care for infants, children and adults during times of crises and in helping them manage chronic conditions.

Tribute to the American Nurse
Brendan Hunt, BSN, RN, CNOR, PCC, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y. Photo credit: From The American Nurse photographs and interviews by Carolyn Jones. Welcome Books. Text and photographs 2012 © Carolyn Jones.

“It was humbling that I was given the honor to be in the book with all these great nurses,” said Brendan Hunt, BSN, RN, CNOR, an operating room patient care coordinator at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. “It’s an incredible book. To read all of the nurses’ stories, you get a synopsis of what is happening across the country.”

“It’s a fabulous book, and the concept behind it is wonderful--how nurses practice in such very different arenas, and yet we have commonalities,” added Maureen Eisele, MA, BSN, RN, CNN, another of the nurses included from Montefiore. “The various practices are incredible.”

Eisele has practiced at Montefiore for 29 years, currently working in pediatric dialysis. She also serves as a kidney center camp nurse at a Montefiore-cosponsored camp.

Tribute to the American Nurse
Maureen Eisele, MA, BSN, RN, CNN, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York. Photo credit: From The American Nurse photographs and interviews by Carolyn Jones. Welcome Books. Text and photographs 2012 © Carolyn Jones.

“It’s about taking care of people,” Eisele said. “I get to feel good every day that I did something good for somebody, somewhere.”

Hunt shared that caring for his mother, who had multiple sclerosis, while a child spurred his career choice.

“I became part of the care team, and it imbedded in me at an early age that this might be something I’d like to do for other people, too,” said Hunt, who began practicing 16 years ago. “With nursing, every day is different. You don’t know what to expect. But the goals are the same. We want to provide great patient care.”

Despite the different specialties and settings, a common positive theme runs throughout the book.

Tribute to the American Nurse
Chris Guelcher, MS, PNP-BC, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Photo credit: From The American Nurse photographs and interviews by Carolyn Jones. Welcome Books. Text and photographs 2012 © Carolyn Jones.

“I liked the idea of featuring nurses who enjoy what they do and the wide variety of how nurses function and the different roles they play,” said Chris Guelcher, MS, PNP-BC, a hematology/oncology nurse practitioner at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “There are opportunities to do just about anything that would interest you in nursing.”

A nurse with 20 years of experience brought the idea for a book to celebrate nurses to Carolyn Jones, author and photographer of The American Nurse. That nurse, Rhonda Collins, MSN, RN, works for Fresenius Kabi USA, which wanted to honor nurses.

“I wanted to do the project for a couple of reasons,” Jones added. “One was my own personal experience with a nurse who got me through chemotherapy--with humor if you can imagine--and also I believed that it would be productive to better understand some of the issues we face as a nation, if we could look at them through the eyes of nurses.”

Jones began her journey at Montefiore Medical Center, and she returned there on December 3, 2012, to attend a special hospital event to recognize the participating nurses and all of the nurses who practice at the facility.

“We thought [the book] was a great opportunity to showcase our nurses, hear why they became nurses and what nursing is like at Montefiore,” said Susan Green-Lorenzen, RN, senior vice president of operations at Montefiore. “The event is an opportunity to let all of our staff see the finished product, and [it’s] a unified recognition of all of our nurses.”

Children’s National also will hold a book-signing event to recognize its nurses. Guelcher has invited to the gathering her childhood babysitter, a fellow nurse still practicing in Washington, who inspired her career choice.

Jones worked with her producer, Lisa Frank, to select 28 nursing employers, choosing sections of the country with the highest concentration of people dealing with the selected issues. For example, she said, “There are more returning veterans in San Diego than any other part of the country, so we headed out to the San Diego VA hospital to interview and photograph nurses there, in order to understand what challenges the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing. To see how poverty affects the quality of health care, we traveled to the poorest county in America, located deep in the Appalachian Mountains. To get a grasp of end-of-life challenges, we went to southwestern Florida where there is the highest concentration of the elderly.”

Tribute to the American Nurse
The American Nurse celebrates the nurses who practice across the nation in a variety of settings.

Once the team zeroed in on a topic and an organization, Jones would ask the facility to nominate the nurses that would best represent that part of the country as well as that provider. That way, Jones felt she would speak with some of the best nurses in the country.

“We selected outstanding nurses from a wide variety of disciplines,” Green-Lorenzen said.

Nurses featured in the book expressed felling honored at their inclusion.

“It’s been neat to read what other nurses are doing and that there are other nurses as happy with their choices as I am,” Guelcher said.

Eisele said she finds it exciting that people around the country, including friends in other states who have already read the book, will learn more about the their profession. 

“The book is an incredible gift to nurses everywhere,” Hunt said. “How lucky I am to be part of the profession. It’s a blessing.”


For more details visit:
The American Nurse book website.
The American Nurse Project website.
The American Nurse Project on Facebook.



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