As we celebrate National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week, I’m honored to thank all of you for the amazing work you do. We’re on a journey together and we all contribute something special so that UF Health can offer the best patient care.
When I reflect on what it means to work with outstanding nurses, I think about my mom. She was a nurse for 40 years. She inspired my choice to go into health care. I started as an orderly and patient transporter. I loved hospitals thanks to her.
Being a nurse is a very personal career — and life — choice. When I talk to our nurses, see them in action and receive patient letters thanking them, it validates everything I know about nursing from my mother.
Nurses are the foundation of the hospital and often the foundation of their families. There’s the technical side of nursing, where nurses watch over a patient, give medication, take vital signs, conduct tests, share information and answer questions, and explain to a doctor how a patient is doing. But nurses also represent nurturing that goes beyond their technical savvy. Nurses are healers, supporters, encouragers and motivators. As a nurse, you bring all these skills and qualities to work and to your home life. You’re not a different person at work and at home, you bring who you are to the work you do. That’s something all of us in health care learn.
I enjoy attending new employee orientation with my colleague Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, UF Health Shands Hospital chief nursing officer and Nursing and Patient Services vice president. It’s gratifying to see new staff members arrive bright-eyed and ready to do something spectacular — often eager to make a difference on day one.
It’s great to get to know them and then see them evolve as part of the organization. We don’t do anything in isolation here; we are all on the same team. Whether you’re nursing, operations, communications, finance, respiratory care or IT, you couldn’t be successful without each other’s support. And we’re more than our job description. We have opportunities to take on many roles, to be a mentor and teacher for others formally or informally, and help others succeed and advance. The teaching hospital environment is made for people who are driven to succeed. As an institution, we encourage folks to be the best they can be.
It’s like the saying, “It takes a village.” Here at UF Health, we are the village and everybody plays an important role. National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week allow us to reflect that we’re a place that needs people with different skills, talents and interests who share the desire to make a difference and achieve great outcomes in their areas of expertise. You can’t be complacent and succeed when you’re surrounded by people who are motivated and inspired. This isn’t a place for “hangers-on.”
You’re part of one of the greatest teams I know. We create a great organization when every person feels they have an impact. We do dramatic things because we have this team approach.
You have my commitment to support you. On behalf of the management team at UF Health, thank you for the work you do and the lives you help change every day.
UF Health Shands