Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Calling

There is a certain image of nursing that lives in the minds of many people. The lady in the clean white dress or scrubs, taking a blood pressure, or patting a hand. But in reality, nursing can be really messy business. We're not too good for toileting, changing dressings on wounds that would make some people pass out, vomit, blood, or just about anything else. We see it and do it all. Nursing is actually very hands on, physical work.

There's a lot about that kind of work that I love. I enjoy helping to figure out how to treat a wound and watching it heal. I love seeing nursing interventions help a person put on weight, or have fewer behaviors. I love watching the things we do make people's lives better. But that's really not my favorite part.

Today our nurse manager was off. And there were care conferences that needed to be attended by someone on the nursing staff. Since I didn't have a patient load (I was a support nurse, taking orders, doing necessary paperwork, etc.) I attended the conferences. One of them in particular I felt like I really did some good. It's hard for people, especially those who are smart and have always been independent, to come to the realization that they can't do everything anymore and that they need help. I get that. Getting old is hard, and it's not for sissies!

Our patient wanted to know why, if she felt ready to walk, we wouldn't let her. I was able to explain it in a way that made sense to her, which was good. But more than that, I was able to help her understand that all her feelings about what was going on were normal. It is normal to be frustrated when things aren't going the way you want them to, when your life has been turned upside down. I felt good about being able to reassure her that her life and her care were still her own to direct, that we were here to help, and that she was allowed to have whatever feelings came. Because sometimes just having staff understand what a patient is going through helps the patient relax and trust us enough to really make incredible progress. And that's my favorite part. When I can help someone feel listened to and understood.

It's really wonderful to get to help people become active and independent again. It's an incredible blessing to me to be able to benefit from the stories, experience, and spirits of those I take care of. So many have come back to thank us for what we've done for them. But really, sometimes I wish I had more time to thank them for what they do for me. From marriage and parenting advice, to the simple joy of seeing someone benefit from something we've done, caring for them is a true privilege.

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
Matthew 25:37-40


  1. I can see that nursing is your true calling my friend.

    You are such a blessing.


  2. Thank God for people like you. I just don't think I could do it.

  3. What a blessing you are we have a few nurses in our family it is an amazing gift! Praise the Lord for your compassion. ~ I on the other hand do not do well with blood and cry like a baby when poked with a needle..... You go girl!! Blessings Heather


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