So many great things happening in the nursing world this week! I have received my first invitation to a pinning ceremony for prior students that I taught. I remember the relief so well. The relief of no more stress about having to make a certain grade on an exam, not following proper procedure in clinical and the stress of not actually finishing nursing school-(which did happen to me one time). To all of you brand-new grads, I say “congratulations”! You truly are about to embark on a journey that will not only change your life forever but the lives of those who are in need, in pain, distress, and those who are unable to advocate for themselves. Welcome to the profession, I look forward to working along side of you!
To my fellow colleagues, registered nurses whom I have worked with over the past 14 years I would like to say a few things. What you do matters, what you do makes a difference. I see you struggle as you leave the rooms of those who are suffering, I see you struggle as you put aside your personal stress to pour out to others. I see you step up and work as a team when you have plenty to do for your own patients. I see you encourage others and celebrate small and large victories. I see you bite your tongue during rounds for various reasons, I see you tear up when someone passes, I see you smile when an intervention works. I see you comfort families when they have lost hope, I see you supporting your patient as they look in the mirror for the first time or covering up the mirror because you know they aren’t ready to look. I see you act silly for a pediatric patient to get them to smile, or even create a nail station out of cardboard so that a child can do something other than focus on their wounds and scars. I see those of you that stopped for manicures during your busy shift and proudly wore your messy fingernail polish as long as it would stay.
I see you sweat and work harder than any other profession. I see you rub wounds with love and compassion. I see you make patients feel as if they are the most beautiful person in the room. I see you go long hours without using the bathroom, without eating, or without anything to drink. I see you stay late to chart, and I see the look of “does this ever get any easier?” On your face. Not only do I see you but the one who matters sees you…..your patients.
Our profession is selfless. Not one part of what we do is about us. It is giving, nurturing, loving, healing, advocating, and intervening. The days are long and the nights are too. I know there are times when you feel like “I can’t do this anymore”. Maybe you are there right now? Take time to restore yourself, do something you enjoy….take a mental and physical break. Then, when it is time for your next shift take a deep breath, slide on your scrubs, put on your shoes and go in knowing that what you do does not go unnoticed. You may feel like no one sees or understands what you do, and honestly you are right. Your family has no clue, administration may of forgot, friends in another profession just envy your schedule, and society has different views of what you do. Remember this one thing: your patient knows what you do and they are appreciative, they see it, they get it and even though they don’t always show it, they are grateful. At the end of the long day or night when your legs hurt, you are starving and dehydrated, and you finally get to go to the bathroom, remember that you changed someone’s life that day or night and doing that will never be understood or easy.
Thank you for serving in this selfless profession. May you always feel the pride and appreciation for what you do. Not everyone can be a nurse. You are where you are for a reason and I am grateful for you.