In celebration of 2023 Nurses Week, on May 9, BHCHP’s Nursing Advisory Council organized a special luncheon for all nursing staff, including RNs, NPs, Medical Assistants, LPNs, Respite Aides, Co-ops and Harm Reduction Techs. This was followed by a lively program that featured guest speakers, a fashion show, and the announcement of the Stephanie Barker Memorial Award to our beloved nurse and Site Director of our clinic at St. Francis House, Cecilia Ibeabuchi, RN.
The following remarks were shared by Valeria Ramdin, PhD at the event to give thanks to the diverse nursing professionals for their compassionate care of our patients. Valeria Ramdin, PhD is a member of the BHCHP’s Board of Directors. She is an Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Global Health Nursing at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences.
Greetings my name is Valeria Ramdin PhD, a professor over at Northeastern University Boston.
I stand before you as a member of your Board of Directors, but more importantly I stand with and beside you as a nurse of 35+ years to celebrate you.
What you do is esteem nursing. You are among the 4.2 million nurses in the US, and might I add the largest healthcare profession. A profession that has over 100 specialties we are up to 106 and counting , and nowhere is “this type of nursing” caring for persons experiencing homelessness recognized as a specialty. But, I want you to know that what you do is specialized nursing and it takes a special kind of nurse.
In a constantly advancing world with Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and state-of-the-art technology outpacing the advancement of nursing, you are doing something unique.
You belong to the most trusted profession that for 21 consecutive years Gallup polls name the most trusted profession. Why is this YOUR story? You see the humanistic side of life every day, 24 x 7. When you are dealing with people with little to no resources, you still care. When most of America has trendy words and phrases, you think of the core of this population.
Speaking about trends. You see for others “Bussing” is something amazing and really good but for you, it is perhaps advocating for vouchers to get a client from point A to Point B to access care.
When others are speaking of being “Woke” meaning socially conscious and culturally aware, you get it, but it may conjure up thoughts of where your clients spend their nights – on a park bench or under a bridge.
And certainly, do not tell them “Go break a leg” when they leave your care, meaning good luck before some big performance to others. This phrase could mean in our world among our clients, go fight for your turf with all you’ve got, it may be protecting the bundle of clothing they have acquired or the food they came into.
What you do is relevant and impactful and no matter where VR and AI and Telehealth takes us, you are still needed so this vulnerable portion of the population can thrive and, in some cases, even “survive.”
You epitomize what it is to be a N-U-R-S-E.
- N – You are nurturers, its not what you do, but how you make them feel that resonates with the people you serve
- U – You understand the people you serve and consider the social and cultural and physical aspects of their health
- R – You carry a deep respect and passion for the work you do, it is challenging work we know, to constantly see social suffering that results in physical trauma and illness.
- S – You are servant leaders in this space and at a premier organization BHCHP, that is second to none in the US for delivering patient-centered care in this space where the consumer can feel a sense of belonging.
- E – You do this with excellence, the hallmark of our vision and mission which you make our shared reality.
To summarize you as a nurse: you are nurturers who understand and respect the self, and as servant leaders you allow your customers to feel a sense of belonging, and you do this with excellence.
Later today at least one of you will be honored with the Stephanie Barker Memorial Award. Stephanie was one of my students, her work here has left an impact and a legacy reflective of the care each of you contribute to daily.
So even as I celebrate you, I challenge you to at least this week take a little time for yourself, reflect on the good you are doing as a nurse, and say thanks to the nurse beside you for their service to humankind. Go ahead…I’ll wait for you.
So, on the behalf of the BHCHP Board of Directors and myself, we want you to know “Sowubannah” ….that means: We see you, you are important to us, we value you…….. for “You make a difference.”