1. Miracle, Vickie A. EdD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC

Article Content

As the holidays approach, we start thinking about all the things we need to do to prepare. We will be busy shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, attending children's plays, attending parties, decorating our homes, among several hundred other activities during the months of November and December. I get tired just thinking about it. But we must remember (and we always do) that this is a time of giving.


Giving is nothing new to nurses. We give of ourselves everyday to our family, friends, and patients. In addition, many of us volunteer our time for events ranging from helping children in sports and other extracurricular activities to helping with a religious or service organization to helping at any number of worthwhile causes. Some of us may volunteer to help senior citizens, work at a food bank, assist with animals, or work for other charities. We give of ourselves in so many ways.


Have you ever thought of giving to yourself? Nurses are so accustomed to caring for others, that sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Forgetting or neglecting to care for ourselves can have serious, even life-threatening results. Some of these results are stress, burnout, sleep disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse, to name a few. In addition, as nurses, we are not immune to any disease process-heart disease, cancer, diabetes, traumatic injuries, and others.


So I ask that you give yourself a gift in the coming year. Always wear your seatbelt in your car and a helmet when biking climbing, skateboarding, and so on. Follow a healthy diet-everything in moderation. We now know that chocolate, in small amounts, can have beneficial effects. I have known this for years-just ahead of my time, I guess. Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. Find some activity to relieve stress, such as exercise, reading, knitting, dancing, listening to music, or playing with a pet.


Also, please have a health checkup. Please consider the following tests (age- and sex-specific, of course):


1. Lipid profile


2. Thyroid profile


3. Glucose level


4. Mammography


5. Papanicolaou test


6. Prostate examination/prostate-specific antigen


7. Electrocardiogram


8. Physical examination


9. Complete blood count and electrolyte panels


10. Dental checkup


11. Skin examination to detect early skin cancer


12. Colon cancer screening



I am sure I have omitted some screening tests, but you get the idea. Please take care of yourself, so you can be here to take care of others. This is the best gift you can give and receive.


I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season and 2010.


Vickie A. Miracle, EdD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC


Editor, DCCN and Lecturer


Bellarmine University


School of Nursing


Louisville, KY