Will I make a medication error, or will someone not receive the care they deserve because of my patient load. Will I remember the patient at the very end of the hall? Will I meet the needs of my patient, physically and emotionally. Or will I be strong enough to hold a dying child's hand as they slip away? Only to then turn and search for the right words to comfort grief-stricken parents, who are lingering on every word...Searching for a reason...(I never want to relive that again).
This should go through every nurse's mind...Everyday...Am I strong enough to carry the responsibility for another person's life? Am I willing to give of myself to a total stranger? Even if I am treated poorly by them? Who sets the standards of care you give to these strangers? Where is it written that a nurse should give of herself...Unconditionally?
If you agree with the concept that patients receive the quality of care based on the attitude they project to you...And you are a nurse...Go back to nursing 101. I know of a nurse who comes to work every day with a smile on her face. The patients love her. They ask for her by name. Wow, what a difference she makes in a person's life. I was once told that there is more to nursing than just talking or "bonding" with patients. There is more to nursing than saying goodbye at the end of the day...Well, this nurse was almost right. There is more than just talking to your patients or connecting with them...But not much more. I feel this nurse has lost herself in the everyday shuffle of her job. A routine that every patient is treated the same, regardless of the need. A robotic attitude produces a sour nurse. My advice to her is to remember the calling.
When the human touch is the last thing you give a patient...It shows. Taking the human touch out of nursing is nothing short of a nurse who does a job, but a job to be a nurse is a much greater approach. What an honor God gives us...To endure a calling for nursing. As a nurse, can you remember the calling God gave you? Where were you when he called your name to the profession of nursing? What happened in your life that drove you to the honor of becoming a nurse?
Florence Nightingale gave of herself. Born into a rich, upper-class British educator, she one day heard the calling of God's mission for her. Timeless days were common to a single, childless woman. By night, she would carry a lamp to light her path to help care for those in need. With little to no money, a hospital was her home. At times, a blanket of stars is all she had to sleep with. A long white dress with a navy shaw and a white cap was her attire. She traveled many miles, on foot, to help those who needed her. Never thinking of herself, and never complaining, she set standards that all nurses should abide by. "with a human touch, care for those who demonstrate a need."
At times, I get tired. But when I feel I just can't smile another smile, or give one more ounce of myself, I jolt quickly to a mindset that anyone can nurse, however, not everyone was meant to be a nurse. Patients know the difference. At the end of the day, when I say goodbye to my patients, warm hugs and kind words are all I need to justify my care for them. As I walk away, I am always shocked to learn the difference they made in my life that day. What a gift God gives me daily. For a short time in their lives, I was an important part of their family. How blessed am I that God gives me the endurance to withstand the day so I may deliver the Florence Nightingale touch? Although I may not carry a lamp, the light of her mission illuminates from me. Nursing to me is a god giving profession. A profession that can not be substituted by a computer or industrial machines. There is no surrogate for the human heart. No replacement for the human touch. No exchange for the compassion you give. The difference you make as a nurse lasts a lifetime.
As I drive home, the echo from my daily travels with me. I take a small slice of my patients day and try to recapture the care I have given. Every patient touches my heart, in one form or another. Every patient teaches me and molds me to do what God has intended for me to do.
Such importance is the nurse who can make a difference. For every life we touch, blessings will descend. And you hear a voice that sings, "well done." I know the care I give is God's hand lifting me up, guiding me.
When the time comes, and I hang my white cap to rest, I hope to hear the sweet rumble of angels flock away from me and flutter to another, to help guide and even carry her through her day, just as they did me. But, let there be no misunderstanding, my flame will continue to flicker and burn.
For I am, and always will be, a nurse.