As I am approached by an angry family member of a patient that has been getting increasingly worse, they shout at me to which I reply...
"I am just the nurse."
After my shift, as I make my way home, I reflected on my response and what I meant in that statement "I am just the nurse...." What exactly did that mean? As a looked back on the major accomplishment of my life, I realized that the response I gave, although only a few words, was worth more than anything I could explain.
"Just the nurse" meant that I had mastered the art of assessment and deliberation. Mastered prioritization and communication skills. I had spent more of my recent life with strangers who ended up closer than a family than I had spent with my actual family. I have spent countless hours filling my brain with information that I could only pray to remember the next day once the test began. I had tried on dozens of scrub uniforms until I finally found the perfect brand. And let's not forget about the walking, I have put more miles on my work shoes that most cars are able to reach. I have held more hands and offered more comfort than one person could possibly be capable of. I have dealt with more unexpected outcomes than any individual should be able to adapt to. I have answered more medical questions for my family members and friends than I care to discuss. Yet, here I am. Head held high knowing the power that I possessed to change the trajectory of a life by "just being a nurse."
As a nurse, we have the power to hold hands and comfort souls while we wipe the tears away. We have the power to offer protection and be the defenders for our patients and families. We help comfort in the midst of pain and spread courage in the face of fear. We are able to be an advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. We give hope when all hope is lost. We offer a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear in the middle of the night. We pour our soul out to others for long shifts, yet wake up and give more the next day. We are healers of not just the physical but the spiritual.
Being "just a nurse" is more than a job choice. It extends beyond a profession. Being a nurse consumes your soul and radiates from within. It is our calling, our destiny. As a nurse, we are proud of the person whom we have grown to become, shaped by what our eyes have seen. We are every-changing in our outlook on life as each day is a precious gift that we see taken far too soon and far too often. It is an understanding that each day will be different and that every day is a chance to touch a life, a life that may have been lost if it were not for you. Once you are a nurse, you soon understand your path of life that is destined for you. You become a visionary not only for yourself, but for those lives that are touched and inspired by you. You become someone's cheerleader in the worst moments of their life, and their biggest fan when success has been achieved. As a nurse, you understand that you are more powerful than most superheroes on the television on any given day.
Because being "Just a Nurse" is simply understanding that not all superheroes wear capes, some wear scrubs and stethoscopes......