Another Nurses Week comes and goes.
I’m constantly reminded why I chose this ‘noble profession’, but no other week spotlights our career quite like Nurses Week. It’s the week we share with teachers, and countless other niche occupations and celebrations.
I like to think that most of us chose nursing because we wanted to have a career helping others in some form or fashion. Nurses are a rare breed. We deal with more bodily fluids than a porn star or porta-potty. We get excited about things that gross out most people. We go in when you go out. I like to also think that we do it because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to. I don’t like to think that people get into nursing for the money. I’m not naive to think those people don’t exist, but I do hope that eventually, over a period of time, the profession will naturally weed out those people. I DO believe in nurse karma.
Nothing is more humbling and life-affirming than when you comfort others who are at their most vulnerable. I never lose sight of the fact that only mere inches separate myself from the patient in the bed. The distance is the difference between comforting and educating someone and being comforted and educated.
We nurses work long hours. We are at times stretched thin beyond our comfort zone, but we always remember one thing: we are here for the patient. Even at our busiest with doctors calling, families asking countless questions, call lights ringing incessantly, complex dressing changes, ‘code brown’ cleanups, we do it all.
We. Do. It. All.
We advocate. We teach. We cry. We laugh. We share. We protect. We make clinical judgments. We collaborate. And listen. (Sorry, couldn’t help that last one. Cue the Vanilla Ice).
We bring life into this world, and we do our best to ensure a peaceful departure.
I am celebrating this Nurses Week as a new manager. I now get to view the profession not only from the bedside, but as a leader. I’m proud of each and every one of our nurses. I am fortunate to have worked with some of the absolute best; the cream-of-the-crop. I consider it an honor to work beside them and with them.
There is considerable debate year after year about the perfect gift for a nurse to commemorate this holiday. Do we give keychains? Picture frames? Watches? Lanyards? Coffee mugs? Flowers? Cake?
After considerable thought, I’ve decided what is the best gift of all for your favorite nurse.
A simple thank you.
Write it. Say it. However you express it, do it. I guarantee your nurse will appreciate a sincere thank you far more than a personalized pen or flowers.
On that note: thank you. Thank you to all the nurses I have had the pleasure to train with, learn from, and work side-by-side with. You have ALL helped shape me into the nurse I am today. The nurse who taught me the 12-lead acronym when performing a bedside EKG (ketchup, mustard, relish, BOP), the nurse who showed me tricks to starting the perfect IV, the nurse who showed me shortcuts and tips with charting, the nurse instructor who inspired me the most, and the nurse who showed me the way to juggle a medication cart for 30 patients.
You are all my personal heroes, and I will never, ever forget you.
Happy Nurses Week.