Happy Nurses Week 2017 to all my fellow nurse friends! Being a nurse is the best and worst and hardest and most rewarding job possible. I go to work everyday in awe of the strength of both my coworkers and my patients. Now, I've only been a nurse for 3 years, & somehow it feels like I've been doing this my whole life. That being said, I think there comes a point in every nursing career where a switch is flipped and you change as a nurse and as a person. For me that moment came last summer, when I was on the other side of the nurse/patient relationship.
A little under a year ago, I packed up and shipped off to Indiana for 6 weeks of treatment for an eating disorder that was slowly consuming my life. I was terrified to be so far from home and know no one. And yet as the big white van pulled up to the beautiful house, the first person to greet me wasn't a therapist or nutritionist or counselor, but a nurse. A nurse who held me as I shook and cried. A nurse that patiently waited for me to get vitals and a blind weight every morning. A nurse who took me to the bathroom and gave me my meds and answered my same silly questions everyday. It was the nurses who held my hand during panic attacks on the back porch. It was the nurses who assured me each morning that the scale was not my enemy. It was the nurses who kept an eye on my vitals and labs and kept me safe. It was also the nurses who cried with me and laughed with me and sat in the kitchen with me when meals felt too overwhelming. It was the nurses who were some of my biggest advocates. Every day for 6 weeks, a nurse was the first person I saw when I woke up in the morning and the last person I saw before bed at night. It was Erin who stayed awake the night of the tornado and it was Mel who played bananagrams with me on the porch. It was Michele who blended oils for relaxation and Julie who ate and prayed and did puzzles with me. And it was nurse Brooke who made my 6 weeks possible. It was Brooke who was there day in and day out. It was Brooke who was the perfect mixture of goofy and sassy and sweet and serious. Brooke ate meals with me and rejoiced in my successes and helped walk me through my failures. I specifically remember one day after I had a pass. I had made a mistake and was horribly embarrassed and ashamed. Brooke was the first person to talk to me. She did not yell or lecture or judge. She simply loved me through the process. Which is really all anyone can ask.
So this nurses week, as a nurse and as a former patient, I really want to try to be more like nurse Brooke in my nursing practice. I want my kids to know I'm cheering them on no matter what. I want them to know I care, no matter what. I want them to know there's no failures or losses, only lessons and growth. I want to remember that as a nurse I have the potential to have a very large impact in someone's life at a time when they are most vulnerable. And I want my patients to know that although I can't always "fix" them, I can always love them through the process.
So happy nurses week to all of the amazing nurses I'm blessed to work with and all of the incredible nurses who loved me through my process.