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For This Nurse, Leadership Is About More than a Positive Attitude

by Martin Lieberman, Staples®

In any medical office, nurses are often the unsung heroes. While the doctors get their name on the door and much of the glory when patients feel better, the nurses are the ones who offer medical treatment and a caring ear, ensuring that patients feel comfortable and at ease when their body is making them feel less so.

Every year during National Nurses Week, the United States celebrates these hardworking professionals. Timed to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12, this year’s Nurses Week focuses on how nurses are leading the way, both in the field of medicine and in society in general. In that spirit, we spoke with Tamika Cope, a pediatric nurse (LPN) at New England Pediatrics in New Canaan, CT, to learn what leadership means to her.

Where does your passion for medicine and pediatrics come from?

I’ve always been told that I’m an old soul. Helping and caring for others is like the blood that flows through my veins. I just love being able to put a smile on a child’s face by giving them a sticker or toy after getting a vaccine injection.

What challenges you the most, and how do you handle it?

Trying to be a perfectionist! I need to work on realizing that no one is perfect and all I can do is my best.

How are nurses leading the way, in the field of medicine or otherwise?

Nurses are taking on more leadership roles in all settings to meet the demands of our changing healthcare system. To me, being a good leader means using the term “we” instead of “I,” sharing knowledge through demonstration, fostering teamwork and always having an optimistic, tenacious attitude.

What is the one tool or item you and your medical office can’t do without? (Other than patients, of course.)

Laptops, because our medical records system is 100% electronic. But also Post-it® Sticky Notes. Post-its are in higher demand than hot bread in our office! We’re constantly stocking up.

What resources do you use to stay up to date on best practices and current trends?

I’m licensed in the states of Connecticut, New York and Florida. I take continuing education credits yearly to maintain my Florida license, extended credit courses at local colleges, in-services by pharmaceutical reps and the shared knowledge from the brilliant physicians at New England Pediatrics.

Do you have any advice for other people looking at careers in nursing?

It’s going to be rigorous, so hang in there and never give up!

Want to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight on staples.com®? Share your story in the comments section below!

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