In the Face of Change, Nurses Must Remain Trusted Strangers

By Joan Spitrey via Multibriefs

As 2017 gets underway, not only is a new year in front of us, but soon we will see the changing of the leaders of the United States. As the Jan. 20 inauguration date quickly approaches, uncertainly in the healthcare community continues to rise.

Many questions remain on possible changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more importantly how those changes will impact the future of healthcare. The Senate just took the first steps toward repealing the ACA, but so far no plans have been announced for how it will be replaced.

Although this unprecedented uncertainty has many scared and concerned for the future, no real answers are currently known. Speculation continues to abound, but nothing is absolute until the laws are passed and implemented. These changes take time, often years, and likely will have little impact on most healthcare providers' daily routines.

Despite the politics and speculation, nurses, doctors, pharmacists and all healthcare providers will continue to care for their patients to the best of their abilities. It is because of this dedication, the public continues to trust healthcare providers — specifically nurses, more than most professions. In fact, for the 15th consecutive year, the Gallup Poll has reported that the public views nurses as the most honest and ethical professionals.

While healthcare continues to be in constant flex, the role of nurses remains steadfast in their care for patients. They, along with their peers, continue their daily care of patients, despite the ever-changing environment in which they find themselves.

However, with this trust comes great responsibility, which most nurses take very seriously. The value of being known as the "trusted stranger" should not go unnoticed by those caring for people at their most vulnerable times. Although a patient may be meeting a nurse for the first time, trust is already being established and respected by virtue of just their professional title.

So as we enter a new chapter, we have to be patient and see what the future holds. But we also need to give it a chance for success. Now is not the time for panic, but instead to continue to be the trusted, steadfast profession the public upon which the public relies.

That is what nurses do. They just keep going, and they get done what needs to be done — all for their patients.

Joan Spitrey has been a registered nurse for more than 16 years, specializing in critical care and acute care services. She currently is a clinical nursing instructor, sharing her passion with the next generation of nurses. She can be found blogging at

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