If you are reading this, then you have a pulse. Chances are at some point in your life you or a loved one have been taken care of by a nurse. Perhaps a routine procedure, a traumatic accident, or delivering a baby. May 6 – May 12 is National Nurses Week. So, if you know a nurse, thank him or her for aiding your broken bone, dressing that wound, restoring your mental status, or coaching you in a labor and delivery room.
Nurse Balancing Act
My sister has been a registered nurse for seven years. She is also a mom and expecting her second child late this July. My sister financially supports her family, helps her husband with his school work and gives him an inner voice of positivity. Her husband is completing his prerequisites for nursing school. Not only does my sister save lives, she inspired her husband to do the same. She functions on little sleep and still can smile (most of the time anyway). Although she frequently feels overwhelmed, she knows that hard times don’t last. She can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but when she loses sight of it, I remind her how truly awesome she is. Perhaps, my biggest hero.
Work, Mommy, No Sleep, Repeat
She works in the telemetry unit in a South Bay hospital. It takes her over an hour to drive to work, then her “12 hour” starts at 7:30 p.m. She often arrives early to get her work load familiarized (patient status, medication, coverage, shift change, etc). While you and I are dreaming, my sister is passionately taking care of patients that need her. If one of my kids wakes me up in the middle of the night, after I tend to them, I’ll send my sister a quick text. Just a quick, “Hello, how’s your shift? Don’t forget to eat, only 5 more hours!” text. It’s the least I can do, to tell her I am thinking of her; yes, even when I sleep I think of how she’d sure like a cozy bed to sleep in (or crash in). Nursing is a tough occupation, especially when you are on working the graveyard shift and happen to be growing life inside.
My day normally begins at 7 a.m. I get breakfast situated for my boys and brew my coffee. Then I wait for my sister to call me on her way home from work. These conversations are as vital to my mornings as my coffee is. Depending on South Bay traffic, we could talk for an hour or more. We talk about our kids, family drama, and the days before kids, but what always makes my heart smile is her stories of the patients she took care of on her shift. Some stories are funny, some are upsetting. Sometimes she starts rambling and forgets I am not a nurse. I don’t know the medical lingo, but I don’t need to know it. I can feel her passion, hear her heart, understand her intentions, and her overall desire to care for all her patients.
A nursing degree takes a big heart
Many would say my sister has a tough exterior, but really she is a balance of being empathetic while also being an advocate for her patients. She accommodates needs that are not in the job description. While in nursing school she was completing her rotation at a skilled nursing facility and ended up painting an elderly woman’s nails. This made the patient light up and begin to trust medical staff again. This kind act didn’t require a nursing degree, it came from being a good, warm, and compassionate human being.
Another example that her heart is perfect for being a nurse is when she took a preceptorship with spinal injury patients on hospice. Hospice alone is enough to turn people off and not believe much can be done for the patient. But she enjoyed the quiet time and felt honored to be with them during their last days. Unfortunately, her patient died while his wife wasn’t present. My sister showed him respect and dignity, even after he had passed. Cleaning him up and preparing him for his wife, who missed his passing by an hour. My sister was grateful that she and a fellow nurse were present, after all who wants to die alone?
She may only be seven years into the profession, however nursing and being a mom are her two callings in life. She does both with a full heart and I am proud she is my sister. If you know a nurse, thank him or her.
Thank you sis.