Hope in Nursing and Health

I once heard that everyone wants to be healthy. I’ve also heard that everyone wants to have hope. Hope is something to hold onto like the strap on a subway train (I’m heading to NYC in a few days…). Is it possible to have both health and hope? I believe it is. And I believe that hope can help motivate us toward health.

Nurses play a role in helping people attain health and hope. When I think of all the many (many!) roles nurses play, there is always an underlying thread of health and hope.

In the academic setting, nurses teach future nurses about various aspects of health (and disease). They also teach these fresh minds how to be open, how to communicate, how to teach and support patients, and how to collaborate with colleagues. In other words, nurses teach our future generation of nurses how to maintain hope in health care.

Nurses teach other nurses and various health care professionals how to give better care – how to be alert for and solve problems, so that patients have the best possible outcomes. Nurses provide support for each other and their colleagues so that hope is present in the patient room, the emergency department, the nurses’ station, the break room, the cafeteria, the medication room, and so on.

Nurses work with government agencies, in homes, in schools, in clinics and in hospitals. In each of these settings (and all the ones I’m forgetting) nurses represent hope simply through the very work we do. Even nurses in the jail or prison setting bring hope through health.

Whether it’s easing pain or changing a dressing, explaining a medication or helping someone to the bathroom, nurses represent hope through healing. Even when healing is not an option, there is still hope. There is hope in a peaceful death. There is hope in a consoling hug.

I wonder if it’s possible to have health without hope. Probably not. Is it possible to be a nurse without hope?

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