A veteran nurse on Nurse Appreciation Week and why the job remains rewarding

The nursing field is filled with challenges. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the median age of registered nurses is 46, and more than one quarter of registered nurses say they plan to retire or leave the profession over the next five years.

During National Nurses Week, WTOP talked to Candie Daniels, the assistant director of the neuroscience ICU at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Daniels said there’s a wide spectrum of careers in the health care field, but, for her, the attraction to nursing was the opportunity to provide direct care to patients. And there was a family connection.

“I come from a family of nurses. My grandparents were nurses, my mother’s a nurse, my aunt’s a nurse,” she said.

And when it comes to working in her chosen area, she said, “Neuroscience has just evolved — what we can do for patients today, what we couldn’t do for them even just 10 years ago, five years ago, is just amazing.”

Daniels, who has been working at the Georgetown hospital for 23 years, said she’s often asked by job applicants why she’s spent so much of her career there.

She said she tells them: “There’s a professional respect between the providers and nurses.”

Daniels said a good example is how rounds are conducted: “Physicians do not finish rounds without looking at the nurse and saying, ‘anything else? Did we miss anything, any other input that you’d like to provide?’”

There are bad days, Daniels said, as there are in any job. But she adds: “The good days, and even the small, good things you can do for a patient, can wipe away a week of bad days.”

So, during National Nurses Week, what can patients and their families do to show their appreciation?

“Honestly, it’s just a ‘thank you,’” she said. “No one ever wants it or expects it,” but she said thank you means a lot.

Another thing that nurses treasure, said Daniels, is an update on how a patient is doing.

“We love to get letters and cards back from families and patients because we love to know how they’re doing,” she said.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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