Conference today on health careers

Can you recall the number of instances where people have called for the immediate need of a nurse? I remember watching good, old movies, yes, the black-and-white ones, with the hospital scenes showing patients in distress and calling for the nurse. It went something like this …”Nurse! Nurse! Help me! I can’t get out of bed.” or “Nurse! Nurse! When is the lunch coming? I’m hungry! Doesn’t anybody care?” Does this sound familiar? “Nurse! Nurse! Is the doctor coming to see me today? When can I go home?”

In those days it was surely recognized that nurses were the core of every patient’s need, whether it was maneuvering in and out of bed, bringing in the meals, or serving as the information center for all other questions. In her book, “Notes on Nursing – What it is, and what it is not,” Florence Nightingale shared her thoughts at the time that nursing was the act of women having personal charge of another person’s health, whether child or invalid, and that every woman must at some time or other in her life become a nurse (1860).

Today, we generally refer to these nurses as caregivers. And over time, this group of nurses has expanded to include both men and women, increased the varying degree of care provided, and become the largest profession in the health care field. These nurses provide different levels of care according to their category: nondegree, degree, and advance degree. Regardless of the category they fall under, all nurses provide a valuable service to the patient.

I am grateful for all the positive nursing experiences in my life! Looking back on my childhood, I can say that these positive experiences influenced my career pathway. Having good nursing care by women in white dresses with those cute white hats mixed with my personality of being quite compassionate to those around me, created a desire to be a nurse, too. Being the older cousin caring for the younger ones gave me the experience for having personal charge of my cousins’ health by changing diapers, feeding infants, ensuring their safety in and out of the play pen, and comforting them when they cried. Well, fast forward to high school….math and science were not my strengths, so that dream faded away and I moved on to health administration.

The nurses I work with are school health nurses, LPNs, RNs, and APRN (Nurse Practitioners). They deserve more than just one week of recognition for the work they do! What perfect timing for celebrating this group of health care workers as Na Lei Wili Area Health Education Center hosts a special Roadmap Conference for gathering information on programs, activities, and resources relating to health careers and offered to students K-12, college, community learners, and professionals within Kauai County. The conference opens with statistics and projections on the health careers workforce and what is currently offered in the schools and the community. The afternoon breakout sessions will detail specifics about community efforts.

There is still room available for interested participants, no charge, and breakfast and lunch are included at the event today at the Kauai Beach Resort – Jasmine Ballroom. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and sessions end at 3 p.m.

For more information and to register, contact Fran Becker, executive director, Na Lei Wili AHEC, 246-8986.

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