How many of you knew it was nurses week this week? How about that Friday is nurses day? Not many, I’ll bet.
I was in the store the other day picking up a few cards (for another big day on Sunday). I thought I’d pick up a nurses day card or two to send to some special nurses in my life. Guess what…I found 2. A whole 2 to choose from and they were dumb. Really? I’m just gonna say it…nurses are more important than that and I don’t just say it because I am one and because I educate them. Nurses are important to everyone.
It sounds so cliche’ to say that nurses “care” and nurses have “heart” and all that other mushy stuff. You know what though…it’s true. When I started going to college I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to help people. I got in school and completed 2 years of pre-med and was working as a CNA on our peds floor. (Because I heard med schools liked people who worked from the “ground, up”). What I discoverd though is that the doctor I aspired to be really only spent 5-10 minutes with the patient and it was the nurse who made the connection. That’s what I wanted to do, the CARE part of healthcare. So that summer I got married and changed my major to nursing. I’ve never been sorry since. While in nursing school I worked as a nurse tech on the maternal child floor. I’ll never forget the first birth I saw…I was hooked. I saw that warm, wriggly baby brought into this world by his mother and I KNEW that was it for me. I have never lost my awe at the birth of a baby. It is just as miraculous the 1000th time as it was that first time. Nursing is IT for me.
There are so many opportunities in nursing. I am currently working in education because I wanted to make a difference in the future of nursing. I wanted to influence students, but there are times (more often than not) that I miss my patients. I miss the bedside…where the caring takes place. I think I’ll go back there someday (probably sooner rather than later). I miss the awe of it all…the intensity of labor, the work that is done, the reward of that first cry, the joy on the faces of new parents. Even on my worst days in nursing I feel like I made an impact, I CARED.
When you talk to someone who has been ill or had a family member who has been ill they’ll tell you about their nursing care. They’ll tell you about that nurse who made the difference to them when they were feeling their worst. Nurses make a difference. Nurses are up at night working, nurses miss holidays and parties and family stuff to care for someone else’s family. We do it because we CARE.
One of my students was quoted in the paper this last Sunday…She says ““My contributions to health care will be simple. I don’t believe I will ever discover the cure for cancer or create a new life-saving pharmaceutical drug. But, I will listen to, care for, offer words of encouragement to, and hold the hands of dying and sick patients and their families. I will be a patient’s first line of defense when they experience a change in their physical or mental status. I will be their advocate and push for whatever it is they may need to feel better, get better, and help them through their plight. My contributions may be small but may make a world of difference in the life of a sick person.” That’s it exactly. And that’s why I love nursing. (You can read the full article here it was written by her dad).
So this nurses week, hug a nurse. Tell them you’re glad they CARE. Because we really do.