I have the honor of working in a field that impacts people’s lives in often times forceful and lasting ways. I’m struck everyday with the burden of health care, especially on those who carry out its demands, day in and day out.
Standing in front of group of nurses humbles me because I know the work they do everyday is far more courageous than anything I would ever sign up for.
Nurses serve the greater community by caring for any and all of humanity that presents at their door. At times, this is probably incredibly rewarding. What would it feel like to know that you helped save a person’s life? Or that you made such a strong impact on a person while they were in your care that they will never forget your name? I can only imagine.
At other times, I see the effects of the daily demands drain the very humanness out of their eyes. What would it feel like to be screamed at–over and over– by someone in pain, and not be able to get the orders fast enough in order to alleviate it? What would it feel like to be spit on, cussed at, or threatened by someone when all you are trying to do is help? What would it feel like to be a witness to pain, sickness, suffering, and dying–young, old, doesn’t matter–on a daily basis? I can only imagine.
Whenever I get a chance, I love asking a nurse why it is that they went into health care. Many times, they will retreat, deep into the recess of their brains as they work through all the cobwebs of their experiences. Then, a light in their eyes: they remember. They tell me stories of family members who were nurses and who they always looked up to, or of a specific experience with a compassionate nurse while they or a loved one was a patient that confirmed in their heart the desire to be a nurse and help others like they had been helped. Their own stories of why they chose healthcare revive them, if only for a moment.
I encourage them to stay connected to their Why: to remember and hold on to the reasons they chose their profession to begin with as a small dose of motivation to continue on despite the often time overwhelming pressures they face day in and day out. It is one of the best ways I have found to encourage and inspire (literally, breath new life into) them– by helping them remember their own stories.
The nurses I work with everyday are the most courageous people I know. I am looking forward to a series of blog posts I will be writing where I tell their stories: what it’s really like to be a nurse in 2016. Their voices I’m sure will inspire us all.
Have you ever been impacted by the kindness, skill and courage of a nurse in your life? Let me know about it by leaving a comment below.