The slow return of spring always inspires a sense of renewal, growth, and excitement for what lies ahead. In many ways, the profession of nursing is also experiencing a spring awakening. After two challenging years understanding and managing the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the perspective to see the incredible innovation and creative problem-solving that nurses employed during the COVID response, which has now taken root. Nurses have developed an adaptive competence that now defines us—we have learned to pivot, to think differently, and to step out of our comfort zones.
Throughout the pandemic, nurses were often asked to take on new roles or learn new, specialized skills. Today, I see that same desire to learn, grow, and lead in so many of our nurses. Rates of nurses earning certifications in their specialty areas continue to rise and nurses are joining and leading professional practice councils providing thought-leadership as subject matter experts. We continue to design evidence-based practice, research, and inquiry projects to improve patient care, clinical operations, and staff engagement.
Nurses have developed an adaptive competence that now defines us—we have learned to pivot, to think differently, and to step out of our comfort zones.
Having a spotlight shone on our profession brings new understanding to the pivotal role nurses play and the impact we have—from a small gesture of caring for a patient, to influencing widespread change at the system level, to mentoring the next generation of caregivers.
The mental health of individuals and of teams has also been brought into sharp focus during the pandemic, and we are grateful for the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Well-being that provides support, education, and awareness—keeping this important aspect of a healthy work environment top of mind for all who lead health care teams.
Helping to ensure all caregivers are able to achieve a healthy work-life balance, having
the time and space to build their resiliency, will require innovative ideas around care delivery models, scheduling, and job sharing, just to name a few. A lot is changing at a rapid pace, but what remains constant is what brought us to this profession in the first place—caring for patients, supporting families, and improving the health of our communities.
We are excited to celebrate all nursing staff during National Nurses Week, May 6-12, with the apt theme “Caring for Tomorrow.” Thank you for all you do for those in our care and for each other.
Deborah J. Baker, DNP, APRN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is senior vice president for nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System. She also serves as vice president for nursing and patient care services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.