Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Nurses Week

As I drove by the hospital yesterday, I was pleasantly reminded that it is National Nurses Week.
((Warm fuzzy.)) Although I've been out of the clinical setting for awhile, being a nurse will never leave my heart. So I still felt, as though, that sign is for me. For all the nurses, present and past, whether they are practicing, or don't have their active license. That is still a huge part of who they are. (Happy Nurses Week, Mom !)

Nurses Week is the week of May 6 (officially Nurses Day) through May 12, ending on Florence Nightingale's Birthday. She is considered the founder of modern nursing. She was born in 1820. To learn more about this risk-taking, cutting edge, and courageous woman, click on the link. To peak your interest, here is a little blurb from her life,
At seventeen she felt herself to be called by God to some unnamed great cause. Florence's mother, Fanny was a domineering woman who was primarily concerned with finding her daughter a good husband. She was therefore upset by Florence's decision to reject Lord Houghton's offer of marriage. Florence refused to marry several suitors, and at the age of twenty-five told her parents she wanted to become a nurse. Her parents were totally opposed to the idea as nursing was associated with working class women.
The American Nurses Association (ANA), says that nursing, is "often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers."
What an accurate description of nursing. I think back to my experiences as a nurse and the nurses that I have worked alongside through the years. We are a colorful bunch ! Especially the night shift. (you know who you are....)

Last night, I had some trouble going to sleep and as I lay there, I reflected upon some very momentous occasions that I had as a nurse. (not all are heart felt and gushy....some are gross and gushy).

  • Watching a baby being delivered for the first time.
  • As a student, massaging a new Mom's uterus after delivery. All the while, the "real nurse" was telling me to do it harder. And all the while, thinking....that has GOT to hurt. Well, I did find out personally, years later, that it DOES hurt. But all for the better good.
  • Being kicked, by a patient, HARD in my chest. So hard that the med pump AND I went crashing into the wall. I was young and resilient. Jumped up and said, "I'm OK!"
  • Listening to a dedicated wife, of many years, sing "Amazing Grace" to her husband, as he took his last breaths.
  • Seeing an open-heart surgery for the first time. Standing on a stool for hours, next to the cardiovascular surgeon, as he pointed out all the vessels, structures, etc. I held my breath, like everyone else in the room, when the patient came off bypass, and we waited for his heart to start beating again.
  • Christmas eve, 1993 at 6:00pm. While Mr. B and Mr. B's family were all warm & snugly in our South Dakota house, watching "Christmas Vacation".....I was digging my car out of the snow-packed drive-way to go to work from 7pm-7am. I cried the whole way there. God sent other nurses to be with me that night. To comfort me, as a new wife and new nurse, on the holiday over-night.
  • The first time I gave the wrong medicine ! Ugh. As a new ICU nurse, I gave Hydromorphone instead of Morphine, to a post-op day #2, open heart patient, that just had her breathing tube removed. I sat diligently by her bedside, to make sure she didn't stop breathing. With that amount of medicine, she was certainly pain-free. I wasn't without pain and fear. As I had to tell the cardiovascular surgeon, face-to-face, what I had done. Even though I thought my mentor nurse, was horrible, I did respect him for making me own up to my mistakes. To take responsibility.
  • During my Home Health rotation, in school, to a home that was infested with cock-roaches. Crawling on my shoes, my jacket, on everything. I did a "get the cooties out" dance up and down the block a few times, before getting into my car.
  • The first time I did CPR on a trauma patient, while working as an ER tech in college.
  • Giving a newborn baby a bath, just hours after he was born.
  • Being an adjunct professor (at my Alma-mater) to senior nursing students, on the Post-Critical care floor. Being one of their pin-cushion to practice starting IVs.
  • Being with the doctor in the "little room" outside of the ER or the ICU, as the doctor tells the family, "I am sorry, we did all that we could".
  • Getting my commercial driver's license, to drive the 40-foot Mobile Blood Bank Bus.
  • Being SO tired after a double-shift (3pm - 7am), that I attempted to repeatedly get into the wrong white truck, to go home. That's a story all in itself, one that Mr. B loves to tell.
  • Successfully starting an IV on an adult, and eventually on an infant.
  • As I put a large tube down a very young woman's throat, and gave her activated charcoal, I wondered......how did she eat that much D-Con Rat poisoning.....and what led her to this point.
  • To pray with a family, as their Dad and husband, was going to have surgery that he was not expected to survive.
I am so thankful for this profession, as it is such a large part of who I am. My Mom & Dad were so understanding when I called from college to say that I was changing my major to nursing.....and that it would take an extra year. To my husband for being so supportive in all my strange hours, emotions, and jobs. To all those nurses that I worked with and went to school with.

Here's a
"shout out" to you !

Please share some of your Nurse memories.


Tye said...

Very Nice!! Very neat site!
WOW the things we have all seen and done...

Shannon said...

Wow, that brought back some memories of my own. I remember one of my patients making his escape "au naturel". How do you get pajama pants back on a seventy something man as he is escaping down the hallway? Happy Nurses Week to you to my friend!