#flashback – I remember lying on my back in the parking lot. I remember two liquids flowing from my body, blood and tears. As I peered in the sky at the stars that would have otherwise been beautiful, I wanted only to hear the soothing tones of my mother’s voice. I was initially too shaken to even remember her number; but, the school volunteer I’d seen on so many occasions before was now comforting me on the abrasive asphalt. She whispered, “I heard you screaming from across the street – and I came – because I’m a nurse.”
She was one of many nurses who touched my life in ways that are ingrained in my conscience as I’ve marveled at the miracles they espouse every day. Nurses are as often superstars as they are unsung heroes, triumphing with many feats that are too frequently uncredited and inconceivably amazing. We’ve all had the pleasure of meeting them as a rather regular part of our care, both practical and probable, but do we give these visits much thought? Sometimes, it depends on how severe our need is.
For the vast majority of us, our introduction to the world was facilitated by a nurse. Our regular care first begins with a nurse. If we need round the clock care, there will be a team of nurses. In fact, the largest percentage of healthcare and the ones who interact with patients the most are nurses. Their assessments undergird physicians’ decisions. Nevertheless, they have one of the broadest realms of misconceptions about their field as compared to their contemporaries. Can – and should that be changed? Yes and yes.
Enter Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority. #flashforward – At a recent speaking engagement (for nurses), I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer, Ebony, and Atyu (pictured above) proudly representing one of Houston’s most exciting organizations. Their smiles and personalities were as bright as their signature colors. Grounded in tradition and led by innovation, this historically rich body of professionals puts caring for the community at the forefront of its objectives by nurturing the next generation of nurses.
Who’s nurturing them? Seasoned trendsetters who still have a passion for the profession, like Linda Tellison, National (Chapter) Organizer. She travels the country, facilitating the development of new chapters, compelling the confident and the competent to join the ranks. It’s a quality that leaves me enamored with their drive.
That fervor couldn’t come at a better time, because built on a Baby Boomer Generation – nurses will lose nearly half their force within just a few short years – because so many will be retiring. Combine this notion with an aging population of Baby Boomers, and that means more people will need greater amounts of care. So that wait time you may loathe? With more patients – and less nurses – it will be even longer and could likely affect your quality of care.
Nursing is not about running behind physicians. Menial tasks. Little white hats and bringing the occasional pill. It boasts an invigorating industry with wide ranging variety to impact lives in neo-natal units, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, geriatrics, operative services, hemodialysis, cardiology, neurology, emergency rooms, psychiatry, clinics and wellness centers, educational institutions, research centers, court rooms, private practices, executive conference rooms, in the military – across the globe…and these are just a few. Additionally, it offers longevity, exceptional benefits, career mobility and a sizeable income.
I’ve met countless individuals who have mistaken me for a nurse since then, not because they’ve seen me in the halls of a hospital or providing patient care, but because I’m enamored with the superstars of their profession and advocate and recruit for them at every opportune moment. I worked for a nurse, and with many nurses in both hospitals and clinics. It was former Chief Nurse Executive, Mary Holt Ashley, Phd, RN, CNAA, BC, who first made me aware of my nursing misconceptions – and transformed my perspective about the gifts they bring to the patients who need them most.
At the times when I’ve felt the most vulnerable, physically helpless, emotionally spent and deathly afraid, I remember my encounter with a nurse.
I remember the one who held my hand and told me to breathe as a large needle was inserted into my spine in a cold room; the one who brought me warm blankets before my entire body was threaded through a machine in which I was immobilized; the one who gently rubbed the back of my hand while a painful incision was made for the fourth time in the same place, and the one who told me that even though I couldn’t see the baby anymore, I’d see the baby again.
Nursing is a profession of the most talented, patient, brave and brilliant individuals I’ve ever known. Balancing complexity and care, they are at the helm of the healthcare profession – despite what denigrating images may depict in the media. I’m on a personal journey to publicize their laudable actions because we need more new nurses like them to care for us – and our families. It’s an international emergency.
So if you’re looking to pursue a passion where your compassion can catalyze a new lease on life, look no further than the field of nursing. It’s just – what the nurse – ordered (smile). Thank a Nurse today…
Happy Nurses Week
#pursueyourpassion, #bethe1, #nursesrock, #chietaphi, #maryholtashley, #lindatellison
Picture: Nurses I’d love to see as a patient. Congrats Chi Eta Phi!