A New Nurse Promises to Focus on the Fundamentals of Providing Care During This Turbulent Time

Feb 10, 2014, 8:00 AM, Posted by

Carli A. Culjat, BSN RN, is a staff nurse in the Emergency Department at Bryan Medical in Lincoln, Neb., and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing program. She graduated with her BSN from the Creighton University School of Nursing. This post is part of the “Health Care in 2014” series.


As a new graduate and a young person, I am very eager to see what will happen to my country, my career, and my own future with the changes taking place in the U.S. health care system.  As I walked across the stage receiving my diploma, my emotions developed and they included excitement, relief, and fear of the unknown.  I believe our county is facing similar emotional complexity. As a new graduate and new employee – change can bring forth so many emotions, especially on the large scale that is taking place in health care today.

The media covers the controversy of the situation and as a former student, my class still uses social media to reach out and develop opinions on the changes and their possible effects.  Fear creates controversy and with this, we see so many different perspectives and reactions.  Even still, I believe our country is excited for a change and ready for the health care system to evolve into a system that we can be proud of and utilize.

There are many who are relieved, myself included. I am relieved that employment is an option at this time in this changing system, I am relieved that our country has taken the initiative to address a need, and I am relieved that I have an education and position that I can use to assist, in the best way a single person can, in health care reform—as a frontline person, a staff nurse in an Emergency Department.

My goal in 2014 for U.S. health care is that we, as health care workers, focus on the fundamentals of health and not forget the Healthy People 2020 goals. We cannot lose our ability to care for patients while waiting for the results of health care reform.  As a new nurse working in the Emergency Department, I have not yet seen a change in the patients we are caring for, but what I do know is that each patient has a different question about their future in health care. I believe that it is information and teaching that will increase our ability to utilize this change in its most beneficial way.

As I work on triaging patients, I have also started working on strengthening my discharge instructions by utilizing community resources to provide alternative answers for patients who may need assistance that is available to them outside of my department.  We need to develop efficient resources and educate the community as to their function and the logistics on how to access their services.

Our focus as a country filled will highly educated people needs to be reaching out and changing with the health care system, and finding ways to strengthen community resources and develop preventative care practices within all communities.  This may be difficult for many, but I believe that we have the ability as a nation to collaborate and strengthen our health care system, which is one of the most essential life necessities. We do that through care, compassion, information, and teamwork.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.