No matter how you say it, nurses are invaluable. In fact, you have to look no farther than HMG's team of providers to find validation of the tremendous worth of HMG's more than 170 nurses.
"Nurses are on the front lines. They play a very important role in taking care of patients," says HMG gastroenterologist Manoj Srinath, MD, who calls nurses in his office a "godsend."
HMG orthopedic surgeon Melissa Lawrence, DO, couldn't agree more. "My nurse is my right hand person. She is always getting the charts ready, reading through files, ordering tests, fielding phone calls. I couldn't function nearly as effectively without her."
HMG Regional Nurse Manager Barsha Grant uses Dr. Lawrence's choice of words quite often.
"One of the first things I tell nurses in an interview is, 'You're going to be that physician's right-hand, and they are going to depend on you," explains Barsha. "They're going to need you to be proactive and anticipate needs, and a nurse also has to be able to multi-task."
"Frankly, a good nurse will keep their doctor on task," agrees HMG general surgeonThomas Thomas, MD. "They keep us on schedule, they make sure we have the right tests and they interact with patients before we do. We place a great value on our nurses."
For Barsha, she began her nursing career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and continued her education by agreeing to accompanying a friend to take an entrance test.
"At 18-years-old, a friend of mine did not want to go take a test by herself," says Barsha. "Thankfully, I passed, and from that point on I knew that I wanted to continue in nursing. I think that was God's way of pushing me into it."
As a licensed practical nurse (LPN), Barsha has been with HMG for 20 years, and she has overseen the administrative arm of nursing for the past five years.
According to Barsha, nursing at HMG includes many levels and specialties. Some of the registered nurses (RNs) work in the new Infusion Center, which is located near the HMG Urgent Care Centers at HMG Medical Plaza in Kingsport and Sapling Grove in Bristol, and they take care of infused medications and patient hydration needs.
In Kingsport, the RNs will also be working closely with the HMG hospital team and the new Extensivist Clinic, where they will administer intravenous antibiotics and, hopefully, reduce patient hospital admissions.
"This type of care is considered 'preventative,' and it is where medicine is going," says Barsha, recognizing the innovative role of nurses in the totality of medicine. "The goal is to try to keep patients out of the hospital and improve their quality of life."
Whether it's the compassion to help others or the desire to teach patients about health issues, nursing offers an array of varied career opportunities, specialties and interests.
"Nursing is not a job that just anyone can do," explains Barsha. "You have be compassionate and you have to want to help people. It takes a special kind of person, and it is a true calling."
This article is in recognition of the American Nurses Association (AMA) celebration of National Nurses Week, May 6-12th.