Mary Holt Ashley

Chi Eta Phi: Nurturing New Millennium Nurses

Chi Eta Phi

#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!

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Counter Your Complaints with Counting Your Blessings…

Savor the Simplest Pleasures

Gobbling up posts and pictures circling my upcoming 20th year high school reunion and connecting with friends and business associates, I find myself quite frequently on FaceBook of late.  I don’t read every post or consume every meme (although many are hilarious), but I do try to keep up here and there.  But I must say, there was one friend that captivated me more than normal this week.  Why?  Because she’s been cataloging her day to day events (some seemingly hour by hour), while in – the hospital.

I don’t believe she’s chronicling a life threatening disease (thankfully!), but she’s not there for a routine visit either.  Her friends and family know that she’s quite spirited, always on the go, and the queen of all things delightfully dramatic…but these posts – complete with clever snippets, videos, and loads of appreciation – have a very different tone.  One of…vulnerability.  Consistently honest, as is her trademark, she remarks about observations, frustrations, complications, tribulations, and revelations.  Okay…  I’m just an -ations kinda girl.  You know I love words (smile)…I digress.

I just watched all of her videos (they’re short ones) last night.  But I’ve been cracking up at her antics for the last few days.  While in the hospital, she’s enjoying tasty morsels from loved ones.  Cookies and foil wrapped plates and other culinary delights.  She’s “coloring” – although we’re both nearing our forties. She’s donning blinged-out accessories, complete with face and head gear; sparkling more than a glitter fanatic at Hobby Lobby.

She’s engaging in her therapeutic walking (with a walker) while adorned in stylish red flats, which accompanied a stylish red purse brought by a friend.  She’s also having praise and worship service with a sister on the left (that means song time in church) while a nurse is working with an IV in her arm on the right.  I’m cracking up.  And that’s just a fraction of her hospital “festivities.”

Now as I’m reading these, I’m thinking, “This girl is crazy.  Who has that much fun in the hospital!”  Weighing in the seriousness, I know that she’s a ridiculously great singer and performer – who I believe was in the middle of a show…but, she’s having respiratory challenges.  Big ones.  Then I’m feeling a bit guilty/shameful.

Because I was also in the emergency room this week – with respiratory problems and laryngitis (a  big no-no for a speaker!)- and when my husband posted my pic on FB on a breathing machine, I was incensed.  Too self-conscious about how it looked to share with those who cared about me most.  To worried about hair out of place and the fact that everyone would see my blankie.

Oh yeah, babe.  Carla’s got a blankie.  A big, pink and red, oh-so-soft, you-better-not-touch-it blankie that I sleep with on my side of the bed under our shared cover every night.  I was all wrapped up in the Emergency Room…because it was cold!  And I was scared…  And I was not FaceBook ready for that.  So I instructed him to promptly take that picture down!

And then I saw, Aisha…  In her hospital bed, tubes in nose, hair all wrapped…smiling.  Not attempting to show she was fearless, but faithful to who she is…  I felt warm, fuzzy, and thoughtful all at once.  But that wasn’t the kicker.  It was this list she posted a few days later…

shesatrooper

Now on this one I laughed and almost cried.  Talk about being a realist!

A little housekeeping…I realize my readers come from around the world – and for that I am humbled and most appreciative! – but… I did white our her last name for those who may not already know her.  Those who do already contact her.  The point is, I think her story is worth sharing on every continent…

I’ve appreciated her silliness for many years as I met her in sixth grade.  But today, how she’s chosen to face one of her scariest moments has given me pause.  It took me to a place that I don’t go often enough.  One of thankfulness.

The boss who I love the most, and still talk with regularly (because we’re more like family) is one of the most successful women I know.  She’s in her 70s, still as fierce as ever, but has been plagued with illness since childhood.  When experiencing problems like she had for just a moment, I was so overwhelmed, I thought I’d never make it through…and to think, she’s been doing it all her life.

#catchthis:   Life will offer us many things – good and bad.  It would be foolish to assume we’ll get everything we want.  It’s never about what you get.  It’s always about how you handle it.  Aisha’s handling it like a trooper.  I think I’ll hang on to my little asthma pump and follow suit.

We have so many things to be thankful for.  We should focus on them more and being fickle less.  On that note, flowers never smelled so good.  Why don’t you stop and smell a few today.  #countyourblessings, #catchyourdreams, #pursueyourpassion, #bethe1

Picture:  Stopping the madness to savor the memories.