What is a Nurse?

By: Lynne Shopiro, RN

heart with nurses faces in masks 2021


Lynne Shopiro, RN, interim chief nursing officer

Lynne Shopiro, RN, Interim Chief Nursing Officer

Nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s healthcare journey together. Across the entire patient experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual.

Beyond the time-honored reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialized profession that is constantly evolving to address the needs of our patients. From ensuring the most accurate diagnoses to the ongoing education of the public about critical health issues, nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health.

During the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve reflected more than ever about the attributes I feel the ideal nurse should strive to exemplify. I’m proud to say our nurses at Crouse Health rise to these descriptive challenges each and every day, and individually and collectively create a Crouse nursing culture we can be proud of!

Happy Nurses Week! I salute each of you and all you do.

COMMITTED: com·mit·ted: feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly dedicated.

When you look up the definition of commitment, you’ll see it concerns a pledge or a promise, an obligation to something. I prefer the definition that describes commitment as dedication. Professional commitment is defined as loyalty, the desire to stay in a profession, and a sense of responsibility toward the profession’s particular problems and challenges. Commitment to nursing implies commitment to provide optimal patient care and promote the nursing profession. The act of committing yourself to work means going above and beyond normally expected behaviors and pledging to uphold strong values.

What does commitment look like?

● Awareness of the challenges ahead and working to overcome these for the sake of your patient and your team

● Maintaining your own health to be the very best role model

● Exhibiting a willingness to learn from your co-workers

● Always striving to provide the best possible guidance and care for your patients

For me, this unwavering, unfailing wish to continue making things better for our patients and colleagues so that we’re working and practicing in the optimum environment is all part of the commitment that goes along with being a nurse. If we don’t have the desire to make things better then at best they’ll stay as they are, but at worst, they’ll start to deteriorate.

There’s something about commitment – that emotional attachment to being a nurse – that takes doing your job to a whole other level. Commitment is about striving for continuous improvement, constantly looking at things and exploring ways of doing them differently.

Being a nurse never leaves you; it starts from the minute you go into training and stays with you your whole life. From the very first day that you put on your nursing uniform, you’re telling the world that you chose caring as a career. That’s a pretty amazing feeling. And it doesn’t finish when you retire – nursing skills are skills for life. It’s not just the clinical skills but the interpersonal skills, the caring skills, the logical thinking skills, the problem-solving skills, the analytical skills – everything that you are as a nurse comes together into a beautiful package of skills for life.

You have been committed to caring for those around you, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. The commitment to others is only any good if we extend it to yourselves, taking a little bit of time to self-care. Commitment is being dedicated to do things—persistently, patiently, and maybe playfully—even when you don’t want to. Being committed to something doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can actually be pleasant, because you are doing what you really believe in.

COVID-19 has taken a lot out of everyone . You all have experienced significant stress and faced death more often and in more settings than many of you have in your entire career.  Recovery, support and self-care are top priorities. Commit to caring for yourselves. We cannot live to our fullest potential until we fully commit. When we truly commit to something, we become bigger than our excuses.

Thank you for your committed spirit to our patients and each other.

TRUSTWORTHY: trust·wor·thy/ able to be relied on as honest or truthful

Trust, one of nursing’s intangible assets, impacts a nurse’s ability to form a meaningful relationship with a patient, and this connection positively impacts patient outcomes. Trust, however, is not just important for our patients, but for each other as colleagues as well. Trust is a key component in a healthy work environment.

Trust is dignity and honoring the presence of each other, including feelings, thoughts and expertise, because no one comes into this as an empty vessel. Trustworthiness is an intangible asset that warrants protection, as trust once lost is hard to recapture.  Nursing  relies heavily on cooperation among colleagues. In the long run, this ensures that you will get the help you need in a pinch and that you can rely on your co-workers to do their best. However, this arrangement is not a given – it relies on trust and teamwork. If you want to cultivate a community among yourself and your workers, make sure you are always there to help your colleagues and that they know they can trust you in difficult situations.

Trusting relationships are formed when nurses consistently attune to one another, wonder with and about one another, follow the cues provided by one another, and hold one another with respect and dignity.

·       Attuning – The practice of being present in the moment and tuning in to an individual or situation.

·       Wondering – The practice of being genuinely interested in a person. It requires an open-hearted curiosity about what can be learned about this unique individual, while intentionally suspending assumptions and judgement.

·       Following – The practice of listening to and focusing on what an individual is teaching us about what matters most to her or him and allowing that information to guide our interactions. It requires consciously suspending our own agenda.

·       Holding – The practice of intentionally creating a safe haven to protect the safety and dignity of an individual

One of the three relationships emphasized in our Relationship Based Care model is the relationship we have with our co-workers

A personal commitment among staff members to be responsible for healthy trusting relationships. (Commitment to Co-worker)

Be Caring
Be Courteous
Be Kind
Be Helpful
Be Honest
Be Proud
Be Respectful
Be Supportive
Be A Teacher
Be Well Informed
Be A Positive Role Model

Thank you so much for working so very hard every day to make sure others are able to receive the care they need.  Thank you for all of your personal sacrifices and selfless giving you have endured this past year.  Thank you for remaining compassionate, despite your exhaustion. Thank you for always going above and beyond your duty.  THANK YOU!

COMPASSIONATE: com·pas·sion·ate/ feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others.

Compassionate nursing care is the main element in providing quality care to patients, and it may be the best and most valuable gift we can give our patients and ourselves. Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity and is central to how patients perceive their care, but sometimes, when dealing with a noncompliant chronic patient, an irate colleagues, or an unrealistic family member, we can forget.

To best be able care for patients, we must be able to understand what patients are going through. This compassion must extend to family members as well, as they tend to be even more frightened or confused at times.

Embracing spirituality, healing, empathy, mutual respect and compassion promotes health and healing.

A compassionate nurse can make a huge difference for everyone. I want you to make a difference.

Compassion first begins with kindness to ourselves and is contagious. If you practice kindness to yourself, you are more likely to practice kindness toward others. Others notice, and they, in turn, are more likely to practice kindness to themselves and then toward others as well. Be a role model.

Compassion provides a sense that our concerns are being heard, recognized and acted upon. Compassion allows us to feel cared for, respected, trusted and have each other’s best interest in mind. To maintain a caring culture, every nurse must project a sense of compassion and empathy.

The compassion you offer others will be more authentic if it comes from a place of self-compassion. The next time you mess up, speak to yourself like you would to a friend, and remember that’s why they put erasers on pencils. A moment of self-compassion can make a world of difference in your day.

Continue to do what you do best—change lives for the better with one act of kindness at a time.

We are told to put on our own oxygen “mask” before helping others during a flight emergency. What self-care strategies constitute your “mask” so you can live more bravely and stay well in the months ahead so you can be there for others?

Take a moment to think about today and the days ahead

● Acknowledge one thing that was difficult on shift and let it go

● Consider three things that went well today

● Check on your colleagues before you leave — are they OK?  We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.

● Now switch your attention to home

● Rest and recharge

Compassion for people and the determination to make a difference in the lives of others is what makes Crouse nurses exceptional. Thank you for making that difference


THOUGHTFUL: thought·ful/ showing consideration for the needs of other people; showing careful consideration or attention.

Thoughtfulness should be at the top of our priority list. Because the ways we engage with people — even subtle ones — can make such a profound impact on any relationship, whether it be with our patients, friends or family. Thoughtfulness is about more than being nice. You can be nice without much reflection or consideration. Thoughtful people are those who pay attention to the people around them, reflect on the situation, and then choose to react and act in a purposeful and loving way.

Being thoughtful is a way of living life with appreciation for others. Making thoughtfulness a priority may seem challenging when life is crazy. But it’s not. It’s simple. It all starts with an increased awareness and consciousness about where we can give just a little extra in our lives.

Our kindness, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, emotional stability, empathy and compassion are part of who we are as people on a personal level and serve us well as nurses.

You have been thoughtful by being present, taking time to talk, and being helpful. You have provided information and answered questions in a compassionate, positive, honest, and respectful manner. Caring behaviors such as thoughtful gestures, showing warmth and genuineness….increases hope for others.

You have thoughtful of your coworkers, asking questions how they are doing, what they are working on and spending time with them outside of the workplace can help foster a working relationship where you support each other’s goals and share ideas. Knowing that coworkers have their own struggles at work can make it easier to empathize with them so you can try to help them when you’re able.

As you go through your day, realize that no one expects you to be perfect. Take time for daily reflection. This way you can evaluate and best apply your resources. When you know your strengths, you’ll be able to do what you believe is right and accept any challenge as an opportunity for personal/professional growth.

There are not enough words that can express just how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness.


DYNAMIC: dy·nam·ic/ positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.

Nursing is a dynamic profession built upon a foundation of art and science. Dynamic nurses have changed the lives and destinies of millions of people. You have changed lives in our community too!  You have proven your dynamic by being  compassionate, giving, and non-judging and the effort you put forth proves just how amazing our team of nurses are. Nothing sends a stronger message to your fellow nurses and supervisors than your positive attitude and actions. If you consistently demonstrate professionalism, effective communication, prudent nursing practice, teamwork, and accountability, you will set the tone for how others should follow. Individual commitment to staying positive creates dynamic teams.

Having dynamic relationships is a call to change the way we live and work together.

Whether advocating for your patients or for your fellow nurses, bringing your best self to the table is crucial to building a dynamic team. Get in touch with your personal life mission and then find ways to bring that mission to life. That is the nurse’s call to action. Positive team dynamics occur when team members trust each other, work collectively, and hold each other accountable.

Building a dynamic team requires us to work together and using your voice collectively in the spirit of true shared decision making: Consider these:

1. Commit to a shared project. Don’t just meet and share status updates. Do take up a shared goal and make it happen.
2. Mix and match talents – irrespective of roles. Don’t be limited by your roles. Do discover team member talents and leverage them.
3. Clarify who’s got the lead. Don’t assume you know who will do what. Do make time to clarify expectations and assumptions.
4. Share success and challenges. Don’t just talk about projects and work tasks. Do invite individuals to share challenges and successes.
5. Play in each other’s sandboxes. Don’t let team members indulge in turf protection. Do encourage collaboration on team projects.
6. Watch each other’s backside. Don’t let faltering team mates hang out to dry. Do set up peer coaching and support.
7. Learn from mistakes. Don’t allow team members to blame each other. Do talk about what you can do differently next time.
8. Keep track of actions needed. Don’t leave a meeting without clarifying decisions made. Do ask someone to take notes and distribute them.
9. Have fun together. Don’t just grind away at work tasks and details. Do make time to laugh and play together. Remember self-care:

Be the nurse you wish to see in the world: Thank you for your dynamic motivation.

ADAPTABLE: a·dapt·a·ble/ able to adjust to new conditions…able to be modified for a new use or purpose.

A nurse must be adaptable to change because things now change at a far greater speed and pace than ever before.  I have seen in you the awareness and skills to assess verbal and non-verbal cues and adapt individual care to maximize the patient’s comfort. Our Crouse Nurses have been tireless in adapting the ways in which care is provided, especially these past several months, while ensuring patients continue to receive the best possible treatment.

You see and treat all kinds of patients, and these patients will have different emotional and medical needs as well as differing reactions to your care. Often, patients and family members are under a lot of stress, whether due to fear, pain or anxiety.  How they react to this stress can be unpredictable and this requires you to be adaptable and flexible with how you deal with the various people you come in contact with each day.

We continue to prepare, adapt, and innovate as we face the changing realities of this pandemic each day and prepare for the transition between response and recovery, and back again.

We need YOU!!! You who are open to new ideas and flexible enough to work through challenging issues such as dealing with all of our challenging priorities. Adaptability, flexibility and a can-do attitude are something I find every day in all of you!

Thank you for being flexible workers and adaptable thinkers. You are positioned to lead change.

HONEST: hon·est/ free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.

In an impressive 19 year running streak, nurses have been rated the #1 most ethical and honest profession.

Patients expect nurses to be honest because the connection between the two are often so intimate. You have to trust someone to let them insert a foley or start an IV. Patients trust nurses to be honest about the medications they are administering and that they do so in a safe manner. It’s hard to be a patient, and the honesty of a nurse makes them feel more secure. No one can feel secure if they believe they are not being giving complete truths.

The qualities you call upon in the day to day duties and demands of your career say as much about who you are as a person, as they speak to your abilities as a nurse. The integrity you exhibit, in the eyes of your patients, their families, and even your coworkers, give people a glimpse into the strength of your character and underscore all the reasons why you are an exemplary nurse. When you exhibit integrity in nursing, your patients know you truly want the best for them. It’s the quickest and easiest way to earn the trust of those in your care, and those all around you.

Honesty is a facet of moral character. Honesty in nursing is essential to the care and healing of your patients, mind, body and soul.

Follow your own moral compass and be true to your beliefs. Develop your own personal code of ethics, morals, honesty and justice. Look to the reasons you felt called to a career in nursing. Examine your heart and be completely upfront and honest with yourself.  People will naturally gravitate toward those individuals they believe have their best interests in sight. For a nurse, this means you can be relied upon.

Nurses are known for their high level of honesty, so do your part in preserving this reputation by maintaining a strict code of integrity and trustworthiness on every shift.

I applaud all of the you who continue to fight to change the lives of our patients and their families especially amongst this ongoing pandemic as well as all the nursing students who are entering into our profession.

PASSIONATE: pas·sion·ate/ showing or caused by strong feelings or a strong belief.

It is passion that truly separates nurses from the rest of the vocations. A passion to do what needs to be done, to help those in need, and to be the very best at it. It is this passion that drives nurses past expectation, beyond exhaustion, task after task, patient after patient, day in and day out. It is passion that makes nursing less a vocation and more of a calling, and it is passion that elevates a nurse from admirable to invaluable to legendary

Nursing is a passion and a profession. Nursing is a unique field that has allowed me to enjoy the reward of serving people while growing professionally and personally. It has brought obstacles and opportunities that continually challenge me to be the best I can be. The longer I’m in the profession, the more experiences shape my life, the more amazing colleagues influence me….the more I see the power of nursing

You should wear the RN title with pride. Not many people are capable of doing what you do, and even fewer are capable of doing it with the charisma and passion you all do it with. The impact you make on a patient’s life, however brief it may be, is something they will never forget. It’s been said that nobody appreciates a nurse until they need one.

What fuels your passion for being a nurse? Why are you passionate about being a nurse here at Crouse? Share your stories with your peers

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of being a nurse. The varying degree of emotions a nurse experiences on a daily basis is unrivaled by any other occupation. There will be moments of happiness and moments of sorrow; moments of laughter and moments of fear. But through the tears of joy and the tears of pain – always be proud to call yourself a nurse.

I want to say thank you to all the people in my life who have supported me personally and professionally. My life has been blessed with amazing people like you!

CONSCIENTIOUS: con·sci·en·tious/ wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.

Conscience within the nursing context:  as an act of duty; nursing as an act of courage; and nursing as an act of high quality

Conscientiousness is the quality of being careful, thoughtful and thorough….serves as our moral compass.

If your conscientious has eluded you in the past, now is the time to step up and make your daily activities a profile in courage—the one that reveals your heart and spirit. Stand up for patient rights. Be vulnerable to admit a mistake. Take the initiative to update your skills. Allow your caring nature to show. And most important, create a vision and follow it.

When you follow a decisive course of action and do what’s best for you and your patients, you become a catalyst for profound change and an initiator who can lead others to the same path.

Delivering the best possible care to patients involves a resilient sense of moral responsibility born of a strong conscience. Conscience helps guide our actions, even when focused on stress or personal matters, can challenge our best decisions. Adherence to your own conscience will always help to put you on the right course. Your conscience can make you more sensitive to intuitive and subtle qualities in the caring for your patients and be more aware of the vulnerability of being  human.

As you go through your day, realize that no one expects you to be perfect. Take time for daily reflection. This way you can evaluate and best apply your resources. When you know how your strengths can benefit your patients, you’ll be able to do what you believe is right and accept any challenge as an opportunity for personal/professional growth. Never think of your conscientious efforts as sacrifices. Instead, see them as part of the journey towards creating the best environment to work in and to be the your best self.

In a society of so many different races, cultures, customs, and beliefs, nurses are a universal gift to all, and the dedicated work that you do and kindness you deliver on a daily basis should serve as a reminder of the fundamental humanity inside us all. Thank you for being faithful to our mission to deliver the best patient care.

You can become more conscientious at work by changing certain habits. Here are seven steps you can take to be more conscientious:

1.Be reliable.

2.Develop a strong work ethic.

3.Be organized.

4.Be punctual.

5.Reframe the way you view tasks.

6.Create realistic goals.

7.Build relationships with colleagues

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Ghandi

Thank you all for your service!


CARING: car·ing/ displaying kindness and concern for others; the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves.

Caring people go out of their way to make others feel special, to make them happy or feel more confident in themselves. They’re sensitive to others’ feelings. They care what others have to say.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around . Caring is one of the most important qualities in building trust with others. Being kind is a way people understand caring.

When caring is present patients experience feelings of comfort and hospitality, of being at ease and of being healed. Nurses that offer heartfelt acts of kindness evoke caring, an important element of the healing process.

Some of the most memorable experiences I have are not about the grand gestures, they are about the small moments that have great meaning. Being willing to make that connection, to help without being asked, to jump in without hesitation even when the job is difficult, to be honest in the face of adversity, to be insightful enough to see past the most obvious issues – these are the ways in which we can make a positive, lasting impression, and become caring role models .

When patients feels cared for on all levels, it leads to a trust that is quite strong. Not only can you be counted on to provide for their medical needs, but you are also there to hold their hand. When patients are vulnerable, you have stepped up and filled that need. The strongest bonds are made in the darkest hours. This is why nurses are so respected and trusted.

We need to be supportive and caring of each other too. If one member of the team is floundering, patient care is suffering. We honor our profession, our patients, and our team by giving care and support to each other

You can begin the movement toward enhanced care for team members by asking yourself — and each other — the following questions:

·         Why do we need to care for each other?

·         What do my colleagues need in order to feel cared for?

·         How will caring for each other impact our care of our patients?

·         What tools do my colleagues and I need in order to care for each other?

·         What outcomes do we expect to see when caring for each other is fully realized in this nursing care environment?

·         What does your team already do well in supporting each other?

Reflect on these questions yourself. Then begin to explore with your team members how you can show each other mutual care and support, and see how that impacts your patient outcomes!

Thank for showing up every day and bringing your caring nature; please take care of yourselves.

EMPATHIC:  em·path·ic/ showing an ability to understand and share the feelings of another

What is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.

It’s impossible not to be touched by the stories we hear and the people we meet. I think empathetic boundaries allow us to care more, to be more present with patients and their pain, and most importantly, to take better care of ourselves. Finally, when all else fails, and there is nothing medically left to do, you are the tears when a patient has no one else to turn to in their grief and sorrow.

The N.U.R.S.E. acronym is a valuable tool for demonstrating empathy:

Name or mirror the emotion;

Understand the emotion;

Respect the person;

Support the person using powerful words; and

Explore the emotion further.

Empathy helps us build  trusting connections with our patients and well as our colleagues by focusing on their point of view .

You have been there for some of the most challenging days in an individual’s life, and you have the unique ability to provide this powerful support frequently. The caveat is that while it can be rewarding to be able to provide this authentic support to others, it can be difficult to continue to do so without taking specific, intentional steps to care for your own emotional well-being.

We must practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself whatever happens. Sometimes we don’t react the way we would like to, but we are all human; treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.

1. Being kind to yourself rather than being overly judgmental.

2. Recognizing that your challenges/experiences make you part of your team, as everyone is on this journey together, rather than isolate from one another.

3. Approaching negative emotions in a mindful and balanced way rather than over-identifying with them.

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the work you do every day.  We will only get through this because of you. We want YOU safe and healthy. Thank you for your selfless giving.  Thank you for caring so much.


AMBITIOUS: am·bi·tious/ having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

Through courage and determination, you have shown unconquerable spirit throughout this past year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, you have been at the center of the response. You have provided compassionate, holistic, and high-quality care. You have prioritized dignity and provided a caring touch to people dying and recovering  at a time when their loved ones could not. Nursing has pushed to expand the definition of family and patient-centered care like I have never seen.

You have fully understood the sacrifices you make by showing up to work with a genuine kindhearted concern for the well-being of others. Despite struggling with incredible challenges, you continue to step forward in support; you’re not giving up, and you’re not backing down.

It is now our duty to help advance the nursing profession through evidence-based research, education, training, and by upholding the sacredness of the standards of patient care.

The fact that nurses are the most trusted profession is generally recognized. However, what is often less recognized, and what COVID-19 has brought into sharp view, is the ever-evolving, ever-expanding role of the nurse in the healthcare system.

Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on nursing makes me proud to be part of this esteemed profession. There were many of you that worked in different nursing work environments and had to rapidly learn how to care for patients unfamiliar to you.  Still, we stood as one throughout this year, determined to provide care to our patients, as we always have, even in an unprecedented time.

Plain and simple, nurses are doers, and you will keep on doing until you succeed in ensuring everyone receives the care they need.

Take the time to pause and reflect on the lives you have changed, the lives you have saved and the families you have supported.

Please take the time to take care of yourself. We must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

Self-care Tips Colleague to Colleague:

• Take the time to stay mentally and physically healthy.

• It is essential to have daily “me time.”

• Leave work at work.

• Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep at night

• Giving yourself the gift of grace and patience.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for being our courageous heroes and making us at Crouse Health PROUD!


EDUCATOR: ed·u·ca·tor/ a person who gives intellectual, moral, and social instructions.

Education: The exchange of  vital information, responsibility, and accountability to ensure safe continuity of care and the delivery of best clinical practices.

You are not simply health care providers and caregivers; you are also all educators with a responsibility to provide fellow nurses, patients and their family members with vital information.

Many of you orient and precept new nurses in all different roles. Sharing your knowledge and expertise to ensure you have the strongest team member. When you think that you cannot make a long-term difference, think again! The best positive long-term impact is leaving a legacy of superb nurses. Your legacy can be fed and watered throughout your nursing career, so consider what you would like to create and set about putting the pieces in place to leave the legacy that means the most to you. What is going to be your legacy? How you going to make it happen?

Our College of Nursing faculty shape the next generation of nurses. You are so passionate about teaching and advocating to develop the best nurses. You have the responsibility for educating future nurses in the care of many different patient types and I am so thankful for your dedication to our profession. .

Our nurse educators are the driving force behind the training of skilled nursing professionals. You empower new nurses to thrive in the nursing profession, and improve the systems that uphold nurse education.

Our CNS nurses here at Crouse provide expertise and support to nurses caring for patients at the bedside, help drive practice changes throughout the organization, and ensure the use of best practices and evidence-based care to achieve the best possible patient outcomes.

You all make sure patients and their caregivers understand the information being conveyed and take steps to further explain when necessary. You break down the medical jargon into simple terms and ensure that the interactions are collaborative.  Some of you even make follow-up calls to patients to ensure they aren’t having issues of concern once they are at home.

Nurses’ patient education is important for building patients’ knowledge, understanding, and preparedness for self-care. When patients are involved in their care, they are more likely to engage in interventions that may increase their chances for positive outcomes. Without proper education, a patient may go home and resume unhealthy habits or ignore the management of their medical condition. These actions may lead to a relapse and a return to the hospital.

Nurses assume more and more responsibility for educating patients and helping them to become responsible for their own health status. While we don’t have all the answers, you have reassured patients (and your family and friends who turn to you for guidance) with the facts and reputable resources.

Thank you to all those who are working in these novel times and take the time to educate, not only you’re patients but your peers, to ensure long lasting best practice. I salute the educator in all of you!


INSPIRED: in·spire/ fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Being kind is the essence of inspiration in nursing. We inspire people just by seeing the value in humanity and giving of ourselves. Whether you’re a leader from the bedside inspiring those around you to provide extraordinary patient care, or a leader inspiring those who make policy, it’s your vision and drive that move people forward.

I always say, if you want to see innovation, give a nurse a roll of tape and some bandage scissors! J We’ll do whatever is needed to ensure our patients are cared for. We make sure they get the treatment, medications, and care they need, at the time of need.

As a nurse leader, one of my goals is to elevate nurses’ voices so you can tell your own stories. I want to show the influence you have in decision making here at Crouse.

We nurse the communities we live in, whether we’re coaching a ball team, driving a van full of cheerleaders, co-leading a scout troop, or helping people who are suffering. Whatever it is we do, we’re often on the front line of contributing to our community’s health and well-being and ensuring people have healthy places to go and healthy activities to do.

Nurses are recognized for their ability to inspire others, but often times, we are on the receiving end of the inspiration. This is especially true during intense patient care experiences, where a patient may give a nurse the inspiration he or she needs to keep on going. I have been inspired by many of my patients through the years and am so thank to them all.

Being a nurse is hard work, and it’s not one that can be done alone…it is absolutely a team ‘sport. What makes a great nurse is a great team. If you ask any nurse they would agree. Because there are days when things get tough, and time is short and you need more hands; having a team that steps up and steps in is crucial for any patient care scenario to run successfully. Some days you’ll be in need of help and others you’ll be lending a hand, but if we all work with a team mentality it naturally inspires one another and we all feel encouraged and strengthened by each other.

What inspired you to become a nurse? What has nursing taught you? If someone is considering becoming a nurse, what would you tell them? I encourage you to share your stories.

Nurses are in a unique position to positively impact the lives of everyone within their reach. From helping patients to mentoring a new RN, the options are endless on how nurses can inspire, innovate and influence–all year round!!

What we focus on expands in our field of vision, and when we focus on disappointment, we see lack and limitation. When we choose gratitude, we focus on abundance and opportunities, and we attract more of those assets.

Thank you for your courage, your patience and dedication to your job.


INTUITIVE: in·tu·i·tive/ using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.

Intuition is an important tool in nursing practice and part of nurses’ response to patients change in condition.

As a nurse, have you ever had the experience of knowing something’s wrong with a patient before there are undeniably clear clinical signs?.  You’ll just know something doesn’t add up, or you may be convinced there’s something more going on, so make sure you go that extra mile to cover all bases?

A nurse’s gut instinct is a deeply grounded knowledge base developed in practice, critical awareness and what has been learned from previous situations plus an overall sense of knowing the patient well. You can rely on your intuition and use this knowledge in clinical practice as a support in decision-making, which can increase the quality and safety of patient care.

Using intuitive knowledge involves drawing on experience, sensing subtle changes, linking perceptions from the past with an anticipated future, and taking action. Intuition remains a hallmark of nursing knowledge. Intuition is interpreting what you see, hear and feel in order to make better judgments. Use this knowledge in clinical practice as a support in decision-making.

If you feel something isn’t right but are not confident enough to challenge a situation yourself, go to someone you know, trust and respect – watch how they deal with it and learn.

It has been suggested  that those who are intuitive share certain traits. They’re introspective, highly observant. And they listen, really listen, to people.

Whether you call it a hunch, a sixth sense, a nudge or a special inner knowing, we have been relying on our instincts to treat the patients in their care since the days of Florence Nightingale.

Nurses are superheroes simply by their amazing contributions to patient care around the world. Now you can be an extra powerful nurse superhero by trusting and working with the intuition that resides deep within you!

Share your own stories with your peers when you have used your intuitive thoughts and the outcome for your patients.

May we each value time for self-care to replenish our own energy reserves. Start and end your shift with three things for which you are grateful. Include yourself, family, friends, colleagues, and anyone else in your life.


SUPPORTIVE: sup·port·ive/ providing encouragement or emotional help.

Sometimes, the simple act of listening is a profound gift. Being able to share your experiences on how to cope with stress or how to deal with a disagreeable situation can make all the difference.

In order to continue the strong healing role that we have played for our patients, we need to be supportive of each other. If one member of the team is floundering, patient care is suffering. We honor our profession, our patients, and our team by giving support to each other.

How do you support others on your team?

You can begin the movement toward enhanced care for team members by asking yourself — and each other — the following questions:

•Why do we need to care for each other?

•What do my colleagues need in order to feel cared for?

•How will caring for each other impact our care of our patients?

•What tools do my colleagues and I need in order to care for each other?

•What outcomes do we expect to see when caring for each other is fully realized in this nursing care environment?

Reflect on these questions yourself. Then begin to explore with your team members how you can show each other mutual support, and see how that impacts your patient outcomes!

Everybody working together for the good of the patients is a great feeling, and it can turn a bad shift into an empowering example of the muscle of nursing collaboration.

Yes, nursing is hard, and yes, you may not have the time to help. That’s not what supporting means. It means being there for your colleagues when they are overwhelmed to the point of collapse. Working together means sharing the load, helping someone today because you may be the one who needs help tomorrow.

We are all working towards the same end goal, improved patient care, and all of us need help and support in achieving this.

Please take the time to nominate a Leader or team that has supported you! I have attached the nomination forms.

Please know that I am, as are so many others, filled with gratitude for what you are doing.


DEVOTED: de·vot·ed/ very loving or loyal.

Working here at Crouse for over 38 years, I would definitely put myself in the loyal and devoted category.  When you find a workplace that is a good fit and you feel good about the part you play, loyalty to your team and colleagues happens without conscious effort or thought. I have felt a part of something meaningful—and not just another faceless cog in a wheel—that sense of meaning pervades our relationships with both colleagues and the organization as a whole. I have been fortunate to have spent my nursing career here at Crouse.

Nurses’ loyalty is a powerful force. Your dedication has been a source of positive change and improved patient outcomes.

Having loyalty and pride in the organization for which we work gives us a sense of community and contributing to a purpose larger than ourselves.  When nurses feel individually and collectively devoted to their boss and workplace, they take ownership of their actions, independently seeking creative and innovative solutions to problems.

Why do nurses feel such a dedication to their profession? Nursing is not just a job, but an opportunity to help people through some of their most joyous and worst moments.

The commitment to people and families, advocating for others and protecting the health, safety and rights of people, motivate many of us.

I love being a nurse. Our job makes a difference in other people’s lives, and they always remember the nurse.

I feel my job has great value. I consider it a true privilege to be part of this extraordinary team .

What makes you devoted to the profession? Share your stories with your peers. Please take this opportunity to also nominate an outstanding leader/team for our annual daisy award!!

Together we are stronger; together we are better; Thank you for everything you are doing and for all of the people you are helping. And doing it all under these circumstances is truly amazing.


INCLUSIVE: in·clu·sive/ including or covering all the services, facilities, or items normally expected or required, not excluding any of the parties or groups involved in something.

Providing people with true care – care that considers all their needs – takes a willingness to learn about other cultures and to recognize what makes each person unique.

Understanding how diversity and inclusion affects both employees and patients, we can improve our workplace culture while providing better care.

Understanding the background of our employees and the patients we serve, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. Also, hiring and retaining a workforce that is representative of the patient population we serve is an important component to how we deliver care.

Our patient centered care model fosters an inclusive care practice with the goal to empower patients to become active participants in their care. Acknowledging that our patients have rights, especially in their right to make decisions; that everyone is welcome, has a voice and receives equal treatment.

Our inclusive culture here at Crouse ensures that we all feel valued for our unique perspectives and talents, and it promotes the delivery of quality healthcare. Thank you for your devotion to promoting an inclusive culture that embraces and nurtures our patients, colleagues, partners, physicians and community.

We should follow these steps to maintain our  inclusive workplace:

•Be aware of biases and prejudices to understand how they might distort your outlook.

•Keep negative inclinations in check to provide optimal care.

•Be adaptable to change and have an open mind when working with others.

We must make sure that we work in an inclusive way to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take part when they want to and create a sense of belonging.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
So Proud of our Nursing Team. Thank you for all you do everyday.


RESILIENT: re·sil·ient/ springing back; rebounding.

If we as nurses can change our perceptions of our work and work environments, we can change our experiences. Resilience is the capacity to accurately perceive and respond well to stressful situations. It is demonstrated not only in times of crisis, but every day by showing up and doing our jobs. With the challenges and uncertainty associated with health care, resilience is more important than ever if we are going to thrive.

There are several factors that help us develop and sustain resilience. They include maintaining good relationships, accepting circumstances that cannot be changed, keeping a long-term perspective, sustaining a hopeful outlook, and visualizing one’s wishes. These factors can be developed and sustained with one critical skill—mindfulness.

Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment. Mindfulness is powerful, because the only place we can think, decide, act, or live is in the present moment. We can exercise our mindfulness “muscle” with practices such as deep breathing, meditation, and movement. Resilience in nursing is not an option. We have to stay confident and strong in body, mind, and spirit, and this requires us to practice mindfulness…..

Practice mindfulness with this exercise: Letting go is not giving in or giving up, but releasing the need to control the outcome of a situation. The essence of mindfulness is becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations and then letting them go—again and again and again.

When we let go of the way things used to be—the resentment, disappointment, judgment, impatience, guilt, or worry we are holding onto—we bring ourselves back to the present and make space for something new (maybe better) to come in.

All the exposure we have to pain and suffering can invoke a lot of negative feelings, including helplessness, and it’s important to be able to let go.

Reflect on a thought or feeling—maybe even a person—you are holding onto right now that is not serving you. With each inhalation, say “let” to yourself, and with each exhalation, say “go.” Each time you exhale, visualize the word, image, or person you are letting go of floating farther and farther away.

Please share your ideas you may have with your colleagues to help improve wellbeing. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the work you do every day.  Thank you.


DETERMINED: de·ter·mined/ having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.

Over the past weeks and months, we have all been witness to the extraordinary things nurses across the world are doing for their fellow human beings. As we continue to navigate this unprecedented crisis, the words that keep coming to mind when I think of our Crouse Health teammates – are determination and courage. The determination  and dedication being displayed has not gone unnoticed. The rest of the world is now seeing what we already know. They’re seeing how crucial nurses are to the health and wellness of our population. Now, more than ever, nurses deserve our respect and appreciation.

Courage is the quality shown by someone who decides to do something difficult or dangerous even though they may be afraid.

And courage is what I have seen across our healthcare system. Courage to step into the unknown. Courage to ask questions and determination to make plans so that we are prepared for whatever comes next.

As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. “They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for being our courageous heroes and making us Crouse Health PROUD!


ADVOCATE: ad·vo·cate/ a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

You are the eyes and ears for patients and thus their biggest advocate. You have the clinical ability to make good judgments and quick decisions to recognize a potentially serious problem with a patient and the confidence to make it known to the physician. I know that is not always an easy thing to do.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses clearly identifies a professional nursing responsibility to protect the rights and interests and assure the safety of those who can’t advocate for themselves.

•          Ensure Safety. Ensure that the patient is safe when being treated in a healthcare facility, and when they are discharged by communicating with case managers or social workers about the patient’s need for home health or assistance after discharge, so that it is arranged before they go home.

•          Give Patients a Voice. Give patients a voice when they are vulnerable by staying in the room with them while the doctor explains their diagnosis and treatment options to help them ask questions, get answers, and translate information from medical jargon.

•          Educate. Educate patients on how to manage their current or chronic condition to improve the quality of their everyday life is an important way nurses can make a difference. Patients undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from the nurse teaching them how to take their anti-nausea medication in a way that will be most effective for them and will allow them to feel better between treatments.

•          Protect Patients’ Rights. Protect patients’ rights by knowing their wishes¾this might include communicating those to a difficult family member who might disagree with the patient’s choices and could upset the patient.

•          Double Check for Errors. Everyone makes mistakes. Nurses can catch, stop, and fix errors, and flag conflicting orders, information, or oversights by physicians or others caring for the patient. Read the orders and previous documentation carefully, double check with other nurses and the pharmacist, and call the doctor if something is unclear before administering chemotherapy.

•          Connect Patients to Resources. Help patients find resources inside or outside the hospital to support their well-being. Be aware of resources in the community that you can share with the patient such as financial assistance, transportation, patient or caregiver support networks, or helping them meet other needs.

Thank you for advocating for our patients. To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through…that is what it is to be a nurse.


Lynne Shopiro, RN is serving as Interim Chief Nursing Officer. A graduate of Crouse Irving Memorial School of Nursing, she has been with Crouse for 38 years. She has served in leadership roles for the past 20 years in cardiac services, developing a patient-centered service line in collaboration with the area’s leading providers. In her role as Interim CNO, Shopiro works with senior leadership to provide vision and strategic direction. She maintains leadership responsibility and strategic oversight for all nursing activities, including recruitment, retention, expanding shared governance and advancement of evidence-based nursing practice.

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