As Nurses Week begins, I wanted to think of a way to celebrate nurses in a way to relate to one another. We all got to where we are from different scenarios. Life brings us all down different paths that put us where we are today. So I thought it would be fun to chat with a few nurses (Heather S., Carol S., Lindsey M., and Connie F.) and ask how or why they became a nurse, or even memorable patients, funny stories, etc.
“I had a great opportunity in high school to be a part of a program called ‘Youth Apprenticeship’. My junior and senior year I went to school for my required classes and then job shadowed at the local hospital in all the different departments, from medical records to nursing. I loved it and knew I wanted to do something in healthcare. When I got pregnant as a teen I needed a way to support my daughter and becoming a nurse was the best way I could think to do that. I felt it was a profession that would always be needed. After graduation I was lucky enough to get a job at the same local hospital in OB. After two years on that unit I wanted to learn more skills and see more things so I started doing local agency work. That lead to being bit by the travel bug and I have never looked back. I love my job and could not imagine doing something else.”
“By accident or fate, after a long career as an EMT, then paramedic, as well as 28 years as a firefighter, I watched and experienced many changes. Some good and as we have seen some bad, but all very fulfilling. As the world progressed around us the only way to continue to give and share my passion was to pursue another avenue of care. This opportunity was nursing school and at 40 I was sure I lost my mind. It was soon clear why I did what I did as my sister became very ill due to cancer. Being able to be at her bedside and understand what was being said was of more comfort to her than I could have known. The look of trust, confidence, and love was precious. There after my best friend went through devastating health issues. We thought we were indestructible; once again I sat beside with the trust of medical knowledge to assure she was being cared for. Then the ultimate test was sitting beside my mom as I watched her decline and knowing deep in my heart things were looking rough. Once again there was the trust, confidence, and love in our looks, talks, and hand holding. When I look back at why I became a nurse I thank God. I thank God every day for the opportunity to have been a rock for family and learning to treat all my patients as if they were my family.”
“I think I have wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl. I can remember my youngest sister having a fever as a baby and putting cool washcloths on her forehead to make her feel better. The road to my nursing career wasn’t a direct path as I got scared of the unknown in college and changed my major away from nursing, but it always called to me. I’ve had the privilege of taking care of so many patients that have had a lasting impact on me and taught me so much about themselves and their disease process, helping me grow as a nurse. We encounter so many different types of people in our profession and those little reminders to not “judge a book by its cover” are necessary from time to time. One patient that I took care of for several days helped remind me of just that. As I got to know this woman, she told me about her life and struggles with losing a teenage child and how that impacted the rest of her life. We held hands, cried and laughed as complete strangers turned confidants. My patients have blessed my life more than they will ever know.”
“I think sometimes nurses can get into the swing of every day so they don’t see the impact they make on so many lives. For example, my older brother spent about a year in the hospital after a liver transplant that was not successful. My mom was his caretaker and talks often about the impact his nurses had on him and his time there. Remembering many of Rick’s nurses – it was hard for him being young and in the hospital for so long- also being male with so many female nurses. The ones he enjoyed the most learned to tease him. By the time we left the hospital, I remember pushing him in the wheelchair as the hallway was lined with nurses and hearing the sobbing behind me as I passed by the nurses. His favorite ones walked us to the car and helped me load items into the trunk. We used the open trunk lid to hide behind as several hugged me sobbing in my arms behind the car. They cared so much. The bottom line is, the nurses you really appreciate really care; they share your goals, feel your losses, and help celebrate your victories.”
I think after all of these discussions with nurses or those impacted by nurses, the gratitude felt by so many is incomprehensible. What a noble career to live a life of love and service. And this week, we celebrate you all and all that you do! Please feel free to share in comments your own stories!
“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Sharon Felt is an Account Manager for the Nursing division of Aureus Medical Group.