May 12th is Florence Nightingale’s Birthday.
Flo, as she is known in the nursing community, is considered the founder of modern nursing. Hence this week is “International Nurse’s Week”. As the Chief Nursing Officer of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, I took pause to consider what nursing means to me.
I have been a nurse since 1993. Over the years I have had the privilege to work with people of all ages, in varying states of health and from various walks of life. There have been times when I hated nursing for how hard it was, usually, when someone died or when I couldn't do what I thought was best for my patient. Other times, I loved nursing as it gave me pleasure to see how my actions could change someone’s life. Mostly though, I realize how much nursing has given back to me and changed my life. Let me tell you why…
I have had the opportunity to learn from those less fortunate. I have grown from seeing people survive and thrive after coming from the most unimaginable circumstances. And, others have allowed me to witness their most intimate and challenging moments of life. For this, I am thankful.
In one moment of my career as Public Health Nurse I worked with new moms. Parenting is a very hard job and I enjoyed helping parents settle in to their new roles. One such mom will stay with me forever.
After visiting this particular mom for several months I went to visit her at home one last time. That day, she shared with me that on the very first day we ever spoke, she had planned to end her life; that was, until our conversation.
A simple call and offer of support was what she needed to realize that her life had value. To me, she showed me how patience, kindness and care go along way with the people who enter our lives.
As I reflect back on this case, I acknowledge that although professional nurses can have a profound impact on a person, anyone who demonstrates care, kindness and interest in another is in fact “nursing”.
I challenge you to reflect on those who have been your “nurse” over the years and speak a very quiet or very loud thank you to them. Also, take comfort in knowing that as you have been “nursed” you have helped another person to grow from allowing them to be part of your experience.
Happy Nurses Week!