If you’ve gone to a clinic, stayed in a hospital, or visited someone in a hospital or nursing home, you know what a good nurse can mean. It’s easy to feel apprehensive when you, or loved ones, are sick, require surgery or other procedure, or may need rehabilitation in a place where frightening, sometimes sad things, can happen. Nurses are their beacons of light. They greet people with smiles and warmth, explain procedures, and can assure patients things will be okay. But they’re much more than just “cheerleaders.” Nurses are highly skilled health care professionals brimming with medical knowledge they put to use every day. For many day-to-day unit or clinic operations, nurses do most of the interpersonal work and perform necessary clinical procedures. In short, nurses change the lives of everyone around them. They make what could be dire situations better and easier for patients and their families, while providing valuable assistance to physicians. The calm, comforting presence of a nurse can make a big difference and be very helpful when families are dealing with fear of the unknown regarding loved ones. Hard work – but critical work – is par for the course when it comes to nursing. Becoming a nurse is a noble choice – one that requires a special type of person who excels in the field. Visit www.fortis.edu to learn more. An expert in nursing education, Dr. Robert Anders is a fellow of the Academy of Nursing Education and elected to the American Academy of Nursing.