Every year Nurses Week rolls around and nurses are told “thank you” by their institutions; if you are lucky, you may receive a token of appreciation like a lunch bag, a water bottle, or a beach towel. The research is clear, nurses do make a difference in patient outcomes and nurses are the most trusted profession according to the Gallop poll. This is my 28th year experiencing Nurses Week, but this year I am seeing it a little differently.
My mother passed away last year on May 25th from small cell lung cancer. From the day she was diagnosed to the day she died was 2 and a half months. She tried chemo but it didn’t work, it often doesn’t. She never regretted trying the chemo because it gave her the time to say good bye to all of her family and friends. Her friends were incredibly supportive of her and the rest of our family. You see, her friends were all nurses. They helped prepare meals, assist with her activities of daily living, and administer her medications. They even stayed overnight when one of the family couldn’t stay. They allowed me to be the “daughter” not always the caregiver. When my mom died, she was surrounded by her children and three of her best friends who were all nurses. These women made all the difference in the world to my mom and our family. They made it possible to keep her where she wanted to be – at home.
Being a nurse doesn’t end when you retire or take time off to raise your family. It is an innate part of who you are and how you conduct yourself each and every day. So, during this Nurses Week, if you come upon a nurse who is retired or is taking some time off, say “thank you…you make a difference.”
Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC
Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins / Ovid Technologies