Who wants to be a nurse? My experience at SONSIEL Nursing Hackathon Sponsored by JOHNSON & JOHNSON

Even though nurses are always considered the most trusted profession, I still wonder if people understand what it truly means to be a nurse. Every week I hear this statement from a patient,

“You’re such a good and smart nurse. How come you’re not a doctor?”. *sighs*

Nurses are the closest person to the patient, so close that we count how many times the patient breathes. We hear them first and touch them last. The nursing call is to facilitate healing.  Thus, creating healthcare solutions is intuitive to those who have held a patient’s hand.

Yet the growing pressures surrounding providing healthcare today has hampered the experience of not only the relationship of interdisciplinary synergism, but even more so, it has beyond question, taken a toll on the nurse-patient connection—a integral component to the ‘patient experience’.

I worry about nursing and I worry about my nurses. We all see it and feel it. More than ever, instead of running to the bedside, Nurses are leaving the beside because they don’t feel that rewarding experience of being a frontline nurse anymore.

Its wrong to call it burnout and it’s not quite apathy either. Nurses are fatigued and numbed to the circumstances to the point that the nursing function has become more and more automated, instead of becoming more about bridging compassion, integrative medicine and nursing science.

I’ve had the upmost honor of being trained by the best and most seasoned nurses I know. The first nursing degree I received was the best nurse training because my professors were ‘old school’ and my memories are filled with the concept of always apply therapeutic touch with every element of nursing care that I deliver.

Let me tell you a nursing story like my professors use to tell me:

I remember being extremely busy taking care of several patients and I had stopped everything when a patient asked me to help him with his food. It’s crazy how when a patient now asks this question from an RN, the RN might think twice and consider the amount of time this will take them away from performing other “tasks”. I stopped what I was doing, and I spent 20 minutes helping a man eat his food because his hands were contracted. While I helped him eat his warm dinner, he told me of his travels and how became wheelchair bound and how his hands became crippled. When he was full, he told me “thank you and he promised me, he will not give up on his health”. After that experience, I was criticized for not charting that I put that same patient on a cardiac monitor and virtually ‘not charting enough’. Nonetheless, I went home feeling more fulfilled as a bedside nurse than I had felt in a long, long time.

Going to the SONSIEL Nursing Hackathon, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting so many innovative nurses and their energy was so positive it embraced you like a warm sweater that felt knitted just for you.

This energy was unique. I been to many national nursing forums and I can confidently say that no other nursing conference/symposium/convention has ever came close to producing such an authentic and community-love type of atmosphere. This hackathon sparked the fire in my soul to keep going strong with my passion for nursing-inspired innovation.

The same warm remembrance of why I am a nurse that I was reminded of when I chose to feed and listen to my patient instead of charting on my patient filled my heart with pride that I made the right decision in following my nursing path. And my nursing path led me to this Hackathon. Seeing so many nurses not allowing themselves to be underrepresented in the innovation sphere has profoundly touched my soul and it was this nursing forum that spread real nursing love and support. This SONSIEL and Johnson & Johnson collaboration has revitalized my affirmation for empowering nurses at the bedside and beyond.

I just want to say thank you so much to SONSIEL and Johnson & Johnson from the bottom of my heart and core of my spirit. Rebecca Love, Lynda Benton, Antonette Montalvo, Marion Leary, Mary Lou Ackerman, Jalil Johnson, Joanna Seltzer, Hiyam Nadel, and all the members and attendees of SONSIEL Hackathon, you make a difference. You know when an organization’s mission and vision is strong if their values are not spoken but echoed in the atmosphere. I don’t have to memorize your mission or vision; I already believe and know it because I FELT the strength of your values resonating within me.

Johnson & Johnson & SONSIEL passionately care about Nurses. They truly back us guys. When I shared my story with Rebecca Love, President of SONSIEL she hugged me so tight and took a picture with me in the midst of the busiest time of the hackathon! When I shared my nursing story with Lynda Benton, Senior Director of Global Corporate Equity Nursing and HCP Strategy of Johnson & Johnson, her eyes swelled with water as she hugged me too because I left feeling inspired and proud of being a nurse.

Guys if you or you ever had a loved one that was touched by a nurse, please show your support for SONSIEL and Johnson & Johnson and all organizations that are proud of their nurses. The Year of the Nurse is here! So, I ask you now, who wants to be a nurse?


Rosemarie Yetman MS, RN PCCN