Bold Voices - August 2017 - 12

NURSE VOICES

The Privilege of Nursing
An Interview With Whitney Harris

S

ince babysitting her cousins as
a youth, Whitney Harris has
been drawn to children. When
she decided to become a nurse, she
knew the pediatric ICU was where
she belonged. Harris, who works at
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital
in New Jersey, is passionate about
what she does.

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12

How did you decide to
become a nurse?
My grandmother was my inspiration to become a nurse. At a
young age I remember her always
saying it was a career she would
have chosen if she had the chance
to go back and pursue one. My
grandparents are also deacon
and deaconess in our church,
so on Sundays after service we
would go to the hospital and visit
people. Even as a young child the
hospital never made me nervous.
I was always more fascinated by
the patients and all the devices
they were connected to.
When did you become
involved in critical care?
During my senior year of undergrad at Hampton University, I
had the chance to do a research
internship at UCLA School of Nursing. There were opportunities for the interns to recruit patients in the hospital for
studies. One day, we spent a few hours in the pediatric ICU
and I was hooked. For some reason I've always wanted to care
for children, whether it was babysitting cousins or helping
neighbors with their kids. I had that same feeling of intrigue
after spending time in the PICU and knew it was the only
place I wanted to work as a staff nurse.
You became a critical care nurse early in your career
and are very passionate and enthusiastic. How has that
affected your outlook on nursing in general and your
career in particular?
I do think a lot of nursing schools push students to go onto a
med-surg unit to get "experience," but I just don't agree with
that concept. Anyone that goes into nursing I think has a
natural gravitation toward a population; I encourage people
to follow whatever is pulling them. I had some experience as

a nurse's assistant in a surgical
unit, and while I learned a lot,
I also learned caring for adult
patients was not my calling. I feel
blessed because every experience
I have wanted as a nurse I have
been able to fulfill. I know that is
not always the case, but if you're
passionate about a particular
area of nursing you want to work
in, don't give up on that. That is
what fulfills me every day about
pediatric critical care - it is a
place I want to be.
What fuels your passion for
nursing and compassion
toward others?
My goal has always been to treat
my patients as if I were treating
my family. Fortunately, I have
never experienced what our
families live daily in the ICU, but
always keeping compassionate
care in mind really improves my
nursing skills. It is a reminder
that this profession is a privilege,
not a right, and at the end of a
shift, it means a lot to have a
patient or parent thank you, even
if it is for the smallest thing.
What fascinating/poignant/
impactful cases stand out for you?
The most fascinating cases to me are patients who are actively
being coded on and watching a team of the most intelligent
people I've ever met do everything needed to save a life.
Sometimes without even having to say the words, everybody
picks a role during the code, lends a helping hand and really
does whatever is necessary to keep the child alive. I can't
name just one, because there are so many that I think I would
be leaving something out. The best thing I can compare it to
is a symphony. Think of all the moving parts it takes to play
a piece of music that is then showcased to a crowd. While
coding patients in the ICU is something we do often, each of
us plays a part that has to work together for the best outcome.
What do you feel is great about being a nurse?
I am in a constant state of learning. That is probably the main
reason I become a clinical nurse specialist. The learning never
stops. Just take a minute and think about all the things the


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bold Voices - August 2017

Another Angle
Pres Note Front Teaser
Masthead
New Online Toolkit Shows Crucial Roles of Nurses in Serious Illness Communication
Oct. 31 Deadline to Apply for AACN Research Grants
PCCN or CCRN: Which Certification Is Right for You?
Failed Resuscitations May Increase Stress for Nurses
Updated Cardiac Nursing Course and CMC Review Course Online
New Behavior-Based Pain Assessment Tool
Hospital Rooftop Is a Hive of Activity
Former ICU Nurse Collects 100K Objects for Medical Mosaic
Interventions Reduce Wrong-Patient Orders in NICUs
Increasing Acceptance of Pediatric Telemedicine
The Privilege of Nursing
Effects of Dexmedetomidine
Seizure Risk Much Higher for Sepsis Survivors
Studies Provide Insights Into Reducing Opioid Use
Short-Term Oral Corticosteroids Increase Risk of Adverse Effects
Hospital Staff Becoming Product Innovators
Addressing Barriers to APRN Practice
Survival Rates Higher During Joint Commission Surveys
Effect of Rudeness on Pediatric Team Performance
Glasgow Coma Scale Stands the Test of Time
ECRI Introduces Patient Identification Tools
Reducing Risk Factors in Pediatric Delirium
Bundle Compliance Increases Survival, Reduces Delirium
Fostering Resilience in Healthcare Professionals Who Are Also Moms
Members: Enhance Your Career With an AACN Scholarship
In Our Journals
Transitions
President’s Note
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Cover1
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Cover2
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Pres Note Front Teaser
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Masthead
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Oct. 31 Deadline to Apply for AACN Research Grants
Bold Voices - August 2017 - PCCN or CCRN: Which Certification Is Right for You?
Bold Voices - August 2017 - 7
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Updated Cardiac Nursing Course and CMC Review Course Online
Bold Voices - August 2017 - New Behavior-Based Pain Assessment Tool
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Former ICU Nurse Collects 100K Objects for Medical Mosaic
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Increasing Acceptance of Pediatric Telemedicine
Bold Voices - August 2017 - The Privilege of Nursing
Bold Voices - August 2017 - 13
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Seizure Risk Much Higher for Sepsis Survivors
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Short-Term Oral Corticosteroids Increase Risk of Adverse Effects
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Addressing Barriers to APRN Practice
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Effect of Rudeness on Pediatric Team Performance
Bold Voices - August 2017 - ECRI Introduces Patient Identification Tools
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Bundle Compliance Increases Survival, Reduces Delirium
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Members: Enhance Your Career With an AACN Scholarship
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Transitions
Bold Voices - August 2017 - President’s Note
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Cover3
Bold Voices - August 2017 - Cover4
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