To all my friends and co-workers…
A little over a year has passed since I retired from 45 years as a critical care nurse and once again with the celebration of Nurses’ Week, I reflect on what those 45 years have meant to me.
Nursing was always more than a job… it was a calling. It was my dream from the time I was a little girl. It became a huge part of who I am today.
It molded me in so many ways and sometimes it even beat me up… both physically and emotionally.
The hours were long, the physical stress takes a toll on your joints, and for me,
I could not close the door behind me and forget about the patients and their families who had touched my life in such a personal way.
You carry a lot of emotions doing this type of work because you are there at the most difficult of times in a person’s life.
And nurses have a profound amount of responsibility to carry out the doctor’s orders while at the same time caring for the needs of their patients.
So on Nurses’ Week 2013, I stop to honor each of you who have chosen this profession. I understand the stress you are under and I commend those of you who are going on to advance your education.
Before retiring, I told the younger nurses that I had seen so many changes in my career, but the changes that you are seeing in your career will be even greater with the technology available today and the changes in the health care environment.
I used to tell the nurses I precepted to buy a box and put it on a bookshelf, and every time they got a note of thanks from a patient, family member, co-worker or supervisor… to tuck it away in the box and periodically take the box off the shelf and read the notes over again.
By doing so, you will understand what nursing is all about:
-It is quite simply… one human being caring for another in a time of need.
-It is developing a patient’s trust to render that care and to make split-second decisions that may indeed save a life.
-It is the ability and integrity to stand up for what is right and what is ethical.
-It is supporting your co-workers to achieve a common goal.
-It is carrying out doctors’ orders in a conscientious manner and to be their eyes and ears when they are not there.
-It is to never stop learning and applying what you have learned.
-It is about taking the time to precept those new to the profession.
-It is about encouraging others to enter the field of nursing.
-It is about caring for each human being and seeing everyone as an equal, deserving of the very best care possible.
-It is not about the technology but rather about the person.
Never ever lose sight of that fact!
As I age, I know that someday I too, will be dependent on your skills.
I want a nurse to be my advocate and to treat me with dignity and to be my lifeline in my time of need.
It is you who will be at my bedside and will make a profound difference in so many ways, and it is to you, who I will address my note of thanks in gratitude for your care.
(And please… don’t forget to bring me some Blue Bell ice cream!)
Happy Nurses’ Week!