Nursing, a profession and a passion

Public Affairs Office Europe Regional Medical Command

National Nurses Week May 6 to 12

For Navy Capt. Kathryn Serbin, a nurse and reserve officer with the Fleet Hospital Great Lakes Platform mobilized to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for a year, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, talents and strengths − one that offers the chance to make a difference over a lifetime.

On March 25, 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 6 as the National Recognition Day for Nurses. In 1991, the American Nurses Association Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a weeklong celebration, declaring May 6 to 12 as National Nurses Week. May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The theme this year is “Nursing, a Profession and a Passion.”

Nursing as a profession and a passion means more than the physical and emotional support given to patients who are suffering pain or anxiety.

“Nursing has always been known as a caring profession,” said
Captain Serbin. “Nursing practice is guided by values of quality, respect, and accountability to the patients we care for. To me, the nursing profession is based on protecting patients’ dignity, respecting individuals, and honoring the diverse backgrounds, cultural and religious beliefs of patients and their families.”

Dictionaries define passion as boundless enthusiasm and powerful emotion. Captain Serbin said despite passion being the core of nursing, it is not something nurses commonly talk about.

“It is passion that compels us to continue, no matter what, even when we are running on empty,” she said. “We count on our passion to carry us through, often without even realizing it. The passion of the nurse is to do no harm, to view the whole person, to ease pain, to listen, to advocate, being present at the first breath of life of a baby or the last breath of someone gravely ill or elderly. We have the desire to make a meaningful difference.”

Captain Serbin believes knowledge is about searching for what makes a difference and that nurses are incurably curious, have a passion to know, and are driven to learn and understand.

“Because the science of nursing is dynamic, we are compelled to ensure that we never become static, that we are never too old to learn new ways of caring for those we serve,” said Captain Serbin.

She describes justice as being faithful to the demands of a relationship, and nursing is about relationships.

She finds evidence of nurses’ passion at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Nurses, corpsmen, and medics are up to the challenge of caring for those wounded warriors taken to Landstuhl.