Nursing profession honored during National Nurses Week
By Shannon Harsh, The Review, Published May 8, 2013
Since the 1990s, the week starting May 6 has been set aside to honor one of the most trusted and important professions -- nursing. Nurses are the women -- and sometimes men -- who spend their lives taking care of others, and National Nurses Week offers just a reminder of the difficult job they do.
There are many different roads to becoming a nurse. While some are shorter and faster, Alliance resident Nancy Slifkin's journey still brought her to the same place.
Slifkin has always been in the medical field, but it wasn't until 2010 that she finally became a nurse. She began her career in 1981 as a radiographic technologist and paramedic. Needing a job more conducive to raising a family, she later took on a job as clinical coordinator of CAT scan at Alliance Community Hospital (ACH).
When the time was right, she returned to work as a paramedic and then decided to make the leap into nursing.
"I just thought, 'You know, I can do this,'" she recalled. "I watched the nurses do everything and I thought I'm just going to go get my licensure because I love doing what they're doing; I love to have my hands in everything."
Working full time as clinical coordinator and part time as a paramedic, Slifkin added a full-time school load onto her busy days. While it wasn't easy, she had two other nurses, her sisters Barb Devies and Patti Stanley, cheering her on. Slifkin said her sisters were excited to learn she was going to join them in the nursing field, though they wished she had done so sooner. Both had taken different paths to nursing, starting as aides, then LPNs before getting certified as RNs.
Today, all three sisters are nurses at ACH. While Devies works in the imaging department and Stanley spends her time in the senior care and geriatric psych unit, Slifkin chose her first love -- emergency medicine.
Slifkin said working as an emergency department nurse is an interesting job that allows her to learn something new every day.
"In this type of nursing, you do everything. Through the ER you're doing a whole spectrum of different things, and I just love the knowledge behind the whole process," she said.
Slifkin said her job allows her to see everything from trauma to minor things, but she said she has to treat everything as important to the patients. "Everybody that comes in, their focus is what their problem is, so no matter if it's a major trauma or somebody has a splinter underneath their nail, that's their trauma, so you've got to deal with everybody on that basis," she explained. "Even though it may seem minor to us, it's very major to them."
Nursing gives Slifkin the type of hands-on job she enjoys, but it also allows her to be a caregiver, which is something she said always came naturally to her. "Everybody has a certain role in the play of life, and that's just mine," she said. "I love taking care of people. I love the interaction. And I do like to have my hands in everything. My focus is the human body, and anything that has to do with that I'm just interested in."
Slifkin added that her ultimate goal -- something she hopes to achieve once she has more nursing experience under her belt -- is to become a flight nurse. "I come from a flying family, so I always wanted to be on Life Flight," she said.
To be a nurse, Slifkin said, you have to truly care about the patients and have a passion for the profession. She said nurses are not only caregivers, but also educators. They have to care for the physical aspect of a patient, as well as teach them how to improve their health. "It's the global information for the patient that I think we look at more than we used to," she said of the profession.
Slifkin praised the nursing staff at ACH and stressed that nursing is very much a team effort. "You've got to have a team approach, and we do that very well here," she said. "We just have a great group of people. We anticipate what each other needs, and we all work closely together to get the best outcome for these patients."