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The Next Shift: Dear Future Nurses

Thursday June 12, 2014
Lori Brach, RN, today
Lori Brach, RN, today
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The Next Shift is a new series of stories inspired by nurses and presented by The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future. Share your story at Nurse.com/Next-Shift.

Dear Future Nurses,

Nursing is a career that can give you indescribable personal fulfillment and satisfaction unlike any other. As a nurse, you care for patients during their happiest moments and during their saddest, most vulnerable moments. Knowing you made a difference, no matter how small, will remain etched in your memory.

As the years go by, please never forget the reasons you began this journey. I did it because of the excitement and desire that kept calling me to help others. Our reasons are unique and distinguish us from one another but also bring us together toward a common goal — to touch patients’ lives and show them we’re committed to them.


Lori Brach, RN, at the beginning of her nursing career.
You can make meaningful contributions to patients and their families by always remembering patients have family and friends who love them. A patient is never just a diagnosis or room number; they’re individuals with identities. There never will be a one-size-fits-all patient care model because each patient is unique.

The passion I have for nursing is a powerful feeling of excitement, commitment and satisfaction. My best advice to you would be to never lose your passion. Instead, make it contagious. Spread it to your colleagues and others you encounter. Always remain positive and continue learning and others often will model the same behavior. Address the needs of others, offer guidance and, of course, brag, brag, brag about the wonder of nursing.

Please don’t hesitate to take that extra step for your patients. Remain strong and never waiver during tough times. You will persevere — each time with more confidence. There will be times colleagues will step in to re-energize you when you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, and during your journey you will do the same for them. Nursing will bring you a lifetime of memories with colleagues who will become your second family. You will share real and deep experiences with them that non-nurses may not understand.

Speaking as a nurse of 30-plus years, I salute you and I am proud to welcome each new generation of nurses. I know when my time comes to step aside, I will feel confident I am passing Florence Nightingale’s lamp — a beacon of comfort and a symbol of commitment and dedication — to the right people. You will have the knowledge, the clinical skills and the compassion to care for patients and their families who need you. Please never allow your lamp to burn out. Remain passionate and love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.


Lori Brach, RNC-OB, APN, MSN, CNS, C-EFM, LCCE, is manager of women and newborn services at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill.Post a comment below or email editor@nurse.com.