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Celebrating the vital role of nursing

by Darinda Sutton, MSN, RN-BC, FACHE

Published on 5/6/2020

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

At the start of 2020, little did we realize how the role of the professional nurse would be brought to the forefront in every region of the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a registered nurse for 36 years, I’ve long seen the meaningful impact my colleagues make on the health of individuals and communities. That significance is now even clearer as nurses go to battle each day on the front lines of this public health crisis. Some nurses are even stepping out of retirement to offer their expertise and skills in whatever capacity is needed during this extraordinary time.

Each year, National Nurses Week starts May 6 and ends on May 12, which is International Nurses Day and the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the trailblazer recognized as the founder of modern nursing. In honor of her 200th birthday, the World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the first-ever “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.”

In addition, the Nursing Now campaign has launched the Nightingale Challenge to encourage health employers to foster professional growth and development for the next generation of nurses. I’m proud to announce Cerner’s worldwide participation in this initiative. We’re providing a six-month program that includes a leadership development curriculum and will pair emerging nursing leaders with mentors who will reinforce the leadership concepts, provide feedback, offer guidance and share experiences.

I started my career as a registered nurse in 1984 at a small state general hospital in northeast Pennsylvania. Over the years, I worked in larger emergency departments and intensive care units before the mid-90s when I transitioned to the complex field of nursing informatics. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been inspired by the contributions of my fellow informatics nurses who’ve blended the clinical and technical languages of health to promote innovation, improve patient outcomes and enhance workflows for health care staff.

Cerner Clinical Assist is an example of that work, offering COVID-19 clinical informatics, training and strategic electronic health record support so providers can stay focused on patient care. Through the Essential Clinical Dataset—which served as the foundation for our Disaster Documentation Guide—Cerner has positioned our clients well for the pandemic surge and beyond, helping nurses reduce documentation time and work more efficiently.

To offer a broader perspective, I asked a few fellow health care professionals from around the globe to share their thoughts on the importance of celebrating nurses and what being a clinician means to them: 

“Nurses have always been the backbone of the health care industry, but the recent outbreak has shown the world what the entire profession is capable of. In response to this global health crisis, we’ve witnessed millions of nurses and caregivers go above and beyond. I‘m grateful for the 800 registered nurses working to build a healthier tomorrow here at Cerner, and for all those fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Brent Shafer, chairman, CEO, Cerner

“We’re blessed to have each and every nurse at Cerner who makes a difference in our clients’ experience! In the words of Steve Jobs, ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’ This year, COVID-19 has provided us all with an incredible platform to appreciate the value of our work. We’re inspired to push even harder for our clients, and they continue to see our passion and love for what we do. Thank you for supporting our collective successes! Take a moment and celebrate!” – Eva Karp, DHA, MBA, RN-BC, FACHE, senior vice president, chief clinical and patient safety officer, Cerner

“I’m a third-generation nurse, so my passion for nursing was instilled in me at a young age. I admired my mom and grandmother's passion and commitment to nursing and wanted to continue the family legacy. Early in my career, I fulfilled my dream to be a critical care nurse, which provided a great foundation to continue my career in informatics. I’ve been fortunate to have wonderful nursing mentors and feel privileged to work with some of the most talented and compassionate nurses in the profession.” – Melissa Solito, BSN, MBA, RN-BC, vice president, chief nursing officer, Government Services (VA & DOD), Cerner

“As a child, I spent a lot of time in the hospital, and over the course of about 13 years, had a consistent pediatric nurse named Marie. Just seeing her provided such comfort and support to me and my mom. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a nurse like Marie, helping people during their times of need. It’s amazing the power that mentors have to shape others’ lives, often without them even knowing.” – Sonia Pagliaroli, RN, MSc, CPHIMS-CA, chief nursing officer, Cerner Canada

“From my first days as a physician/intern, through the days as a patient to today, the people who always made a difference in my day were nurses. I’m thankful, and in awe at the dedication and the vocation of service that nurses and midwives live and breathe every day.” – Dr. Monica Trujillo, MBBS, MPH, FRACMA, FAIDH, senior director, chief medical officer, chief clinical information officer, Cerner Australia and Asia-Pacific

Elevating the nursing profession is more important now than ever before. As we respond to this global crisis and make our way forward, nurses remain a constant, trusted and critical pillar of the health care industry – during National Nurses Week and every day.

At Cerner, we’re doing our part to innovate and transform health information technology for nurses. Learn more here

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