One of our roles as nurses is to teach others. Sometimes we teach patients and their families; sometimes we teach other nurses, students and even other disciplines. Do you ever wonder if anyone is listening? Is anyone paying attention? Does what you say make a difference?  Well, as a speaker, educator, and trainer, I also wonder if I make a difference; if anyone is listening to me. Just when I start to question myself, something happens to remind me that even if I don’t think anyone is listening, they are.

I teach certification review courses for the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses. I travel around the country helping medical surgical nurses prepare to take (and pass) the certification exam. It is truly one of my favorite things to do. I have met the most wonderful nurses that are so dedicated and committed to their patients. They inspire me every time.  During this course, I spend a little more time talking about strokes because of my background as a stroke coordinator. I talk about “time is brain” and how ischemic strokes can actually be reversed if we can get to patients within 4 ½ hours from the onset of their symptoms. We discuss tPA and the mechanical devises that can actually remove clots.
Yesterday, I received an email from one of the nurses in a class I taught that moved me to tears. She told me how her brother started having stroke symptoms; how she remembered what I told her about “time is brain” and the importance of assessing to see if he was a candidate for an intervention. She advocated for him based on what she learned from the class and because of her involvement, her brother received stroke intervention in time. He presented with slurred speech and left sided weakness. Within 1½ hours he was speaking clearly and could move his arm. The intervention was a success!
She thanked me and said that if it weren’t for what she learned in the class, her brother might not have received treatment to reverse his stroke. She then told me that I was appreciated more than I knew. Wow.  Her email gave me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes. I was so incredibly humbled by her kind words and so thankful that something I said – my words made a positive difference in this man’s life.

Her words inspired me to keep teaching, to keep educating, to keep sharing information even if I don’t think that anyone’s listening – because they are.

Every time you share your knowledge with a patient, their family, a student, colleague, or heck, the neighbor or person you meet at the grocery store, you have the potential to impact not only their lives but the lives of others. You just never know what something you say will save somebody’s life.  Don’t give up!

Take care and stay connected.
To find out how you can bring Renee to your organization or next nursing event, please contact her at