May is the month we celebrate Florence Nightingale’s birthday and the nursing profession. What was once a week-long recognition has grown over the past few years to an entire month. I give thanks every day for having the opportunity to be a nurse. From the time I was a child, playing nurse with my dolls, I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to care for people, and I wanted to teach others how to become a nurse. Even during the pandemic with death all around me, I knew I was doing what I was meant to do. My story is not unique; it is the same story I hear time and time again; nurses are called to do what we do.
Nursing at its best
This past weekend while I was working at the hospital, I had the opportunity to witness nursing at its best. One patient was not going to live past the weekend because their disease had finally ravaged their body to the point where failure was imminent. The nurses caring for the patient contacted the family and welcomed them and their friends to come and have a celebration of life while the patient was still able to share stories, laugh, cry, tap their feet to the music, and taste their favorite foods. What a glorious celebration it was!
The next day the patient, unable to speak anymore, wrote they were ready to go to sleep forever. They were ushered into the great beyond, unafraid because they were surrounded by their immediate family and the nurses by their side. The family said to the nurses, “Thank you for all you do, you really make a difference.” This story is not unique; it happens every day in healthcare. I was lucky enough to be one of those nurses, just doing what we do best; making a difference when it matters the most.
The beauty of being a nurse
When I talk to people about their profession, some struggle to identify what they do and the difference they make. In nursing, we don’t have that problem. We are with people when they enter the world, when they are faced with healthcare challenges, and ultimately when they leave this earth. We calm their troubled minds and spirit, we rejoice with them when they receive good news, and we weep with them when they face devastation. We are trusted to tell people the truth, speak the language of evidence, and use our hands and heart to illustrate and practice the art of caring. We make a difference in people’s lives every day and for that, we are grateful. During this month and every day, thank you for making a difference!