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Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association:
doi: 10.1097/JDN.0b013e31826af4d5
DEPARTMENTS: Guest Editorial

Inspiring the Next Generation of Nurses: What’s Your Story?

Adamson, Trudy A.

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Trudy A. Adamson, RN, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Trudy A. Adamson, RN, Mayo Clinic, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Mary Brigh 2-601C, 1216 Second Street, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail: adamson.trudy@mayo.edu

Memorial Day 2009 started out as a typical holiday for my family and me. My son, Ben, was racing his dirt bike at a national motocross track in southern Minnesota on a very comfortable and sunny day. As I accompanied him at the starting line waiting for his race to begin, I watched the +50-year-old competitors maneuver around the challenging motocross track. My attention was diverted to the waving of a medical flag on the track. An injured motocross racer was being attended to after what appeared to be a mild single bike crash at the lip of a very large uphill jump. I could see the racer move his legs as if he was in pain as they removed him from the track on a gurney to an area located near the first responder emergency vehicle. My attention then reverted back to my son as I wished him my final wishes of “good luck” and a hug that, over the years, developed into my motherly preracing routine preparation, which helped calm my anxieties more than anything else. Suddenly and with a sense of great urgency, my daughter came up to me and said, “Mom, they are pushing on that man’s chest that they just brought off the track. I don’t think he is doing very well!”

Instant adrenaline shot into my system, and the nurse instincts immediately took over. I started walking over to the first responder area, thinking surely that there were plenty of medical personnel at the track; over a thousand people were in attendance that would already be there to help the first responders. My pace quickened as I saw a certified registered nurse anesthetist whom I worked with in surgical services years ago and who is also a motocross racer in the +50 class trying to insert an airway into the fallen motocross racer. The two first responders were the only other individuals helping with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts. I asked Mike, the certified registered nurse anesthetist, if he needed help, and his answer was a resounding yes! For 40 minutes, the four of us performed CPR while waiting for the emergency response helicopter to come to the very remote rural motocross track. The first responders did have an automated external defibrillator that we attached and used to establish that the man was in pulseless electrical activity, a nonshockable rhythm that indicated continued CPR was necessary. Unfortunately, the 2009 Memorial Day holiday was a very tragic and busy day for medical emergencies in my community.

Hearing the blades of the arriving helicopter was the only sound I heard out of the immediate resuscitative area during my efforts to assist the injured man. I remember feeling a great relief that the emergency medical flight crew were now onsite. After continued advanced life support efforts and medications, a decision was made to put the man into the ambulance and discontinue CPR. I did not realize that they had stopped the races during this time and that a thousand people were watching in hopes that the fallen motocross racer would be “OK.” After the gentleman was put into the ambulance, I turned and looked out over the race track and became aware that all that I could hear was complete silence. One thousand people solemnly walked back to their campers and trailers in respectful silence and mourning for one of their fellow competitor’s loss of life.

As I walked back to our camper, many people came up to me thanking me for my efforts in trying to help the injured man. Inside, I felt sorrow and grief that, with all the training and available resources we had, we were still unable to save the injured man. An autopsy later revealed that the man had a transcending aortic tear and that there wasn’t anything else that could have been done to save him. My daughter’s words touched my heart the most that day when she looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, I want to be a nurse just like you when I grow up.” It was at that moment that I realized truly what a powerful impression and impact the profession of nursing has on individuals, families, and communities. Nurses exemplify highly valued caring human attributes, personal characteristics, scientific knowledge, and professional skills that are admired throughout society, and nursing is embraced as the most trusted profession in the nation today.

I reflected on my way home from the motocross track how important it is to prepare and mentor the next generation of nurses and pondered how do we, as nursing professionals, inspire the next generations to choose nursing as a career? I had participated in volunteer school activities for raising skin cancer awareness in my local community and decided to actively mentor my daughter personally in the rewarding career of nursing. My daughter, Nicole, has become very interested in professional nursing as a future career opportunity. Her 4-H project at the 2009 Olmsted County Fair was a fun in the sun safety kit. She researched skin cancer facts and prevention measures that people could practice to reduce their chances of developing skin cancer. She developed an educational PowerPoint presentation and a “Fun in the Sun Safety Bag.” The bag consisted of sun protective swim wear, a volunteer shirt from an out-of-the-sun run melanoma awareness event, sun screen, lip sunscreen, umbrella, a lovely large brimmed hat, sun glasses, and a newspaper illustrating the UV index. Nicole won grand champion for her safety project and a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. She won a blue ribbon at the state fair and gained a heightened awareness of the importance of dermatology nursing and what an incredible impact nurses can make in an individual’s life through primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1
Figure 1
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Figure 2
Figure 2
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I have learned through the years that role modeling, mentoring, and precepting the next generation of nurses is critical to the overall population health now and in the future. Inspiring individuals to consider professional nursing avenues for career choices and personal opportunities for growth and development can start on purpose or by accident. It happens everyday that a person is inspired or touched in some manner by a nurse. Tragic events do not need to be the only catalyst for inspiring people to choose nursing as a career. The daily nursing care and interactions that we have with patients, family members, and neighbors within our communities are hidden opportunities to promote nursing as a desirable, challenging, and personally fulfilling profession. Garvin (2008) reflects that Florence Nightingale once said, “Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head—(not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for the right thing to be always done?” I leave you with two questions and a personal challenge. What is your story that could inspire individuals to choose nursing as a career? What opportunities are available locally for you to role model professional nursing and increase community dermatology wellness into the future?

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REFERENCE

Garvin, C. M. (2008). Charlene’s reflection blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.personal.psu.edu/cxg326/blogs/charlenes_reflection_blog/2008/08/let-whoever-is-in-charge-keep.html

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