Day 30! Hard to believe. I think I might keep writing, because I kinda cheated tonight.
Funny thing is, as each day passed, I cared less about the Google Doodle, and more about exploring the vast world of American nursing. The further I learned, the more I wanted to figure out how to tell nurse innovators’ stories in a way that the public might find interesting.
Maybe that’s the perspective we should take this Nurses Week — a time when all of us come together and force ourselves outward — an excuse for service, a celebration of education, and a chance to use our voice for care.
My encouragement this week? Don’t complain about cheesy cards or stale bagels. Make this nurses week about giving. Give your nurse-self to your patients, your neighbors, your local newspapers, your colleagues. Fight for a place on the stage of health care – a lively place. But fight for the right things – the future of the profession, the betterment of the patient (we’ll all be one someday), the progress of peace between medicine and nursing.
Step out from under the burnout cloud and be proud of yourself; you’re a nurse!
Happy doodling this Nurses Day…stay tuned, this nurse ain’t done yet.
Subject: Why Nurses Need @GoogleDoodles: Day 30, A Nurses Day Ramble & Future Thoughts.
May 5, 2014. 11:19PM.
As I sit here writing to you for the 30th day in a row, I’m feeling a mix of feelings. I’m tired after a long shift, a long bike ride (times two), and a lot of thinking in between. I’m happy, though, because in the process of telling you about how innovative nurses are, I’ve learned and grown, and developed a daily method of writing.
Would I be thrilled to tears if a doodle appeared tomorrow, on Nurses Day, and thought I might’ve had a tiny bit to do with it? Totally. Do I expect this? Probably not yet; I have more convincing to do. But this only makes me smile.
I shared my project with a non-nurse friend of mine the other day, and he said, simply: “I like it. It’ll work. Keep writing until it does.” A daunting task, but one I’ve been chewing over. Why not continue telling you – and all that are reading – how fantastic my profession is? I have someone in mind to introduce you to on this final night of my initial project, but my brain won’t do her justice now; I will save her fantastic story.
My shift today was difficult, my patient so sick, so germy, so incredibly hard for me to love and care for with passion. Sometimes, emotional energy drains far greater than physical. He was younger than my own father, and his daughter likely younger than me. At one point, in between a labor-intensive turn from side to side, I was able to push my bad attitude out of the way, forget my strained back, ignore the sweat accumulating from my labor, wave away the icky smells, and see him, really see him.
This could be my dad, world upside down in an afternoon, suddenly unable to breathe or eat or speak on his own. It could be my dad with sores growing on his body from hours immobile, it could be my dad that a nurse had to sedate to keep from breathing too fast or accidentally pulling out a life-sustaining device. It could be my dad that felt clammy and smelled funky, and that no one wanted to spend too much time touching.
It always changes me when I see things this way. A view-outside-a-view, a chance to be grateful for life while empathic towards illness. In these moments I want to mentally slap myself; how could I feel anything but compassion for a person who is so helpless?
Days like today make me realize that I have yet to arrive. No matter where I go with my career, I will always need moment-by-moment reminders of the humanity of each person I care for. My own humanity, sometimes checked in the locker room at the beginning of my shift, out of self-protective necessity, jabs me, reminding me of my need to rise above tasks and dive into care.
And so, I start nurses week with this thought, one I have long been afraid to explore: Why do I nurse? The men and women I’ve written about for the past 30 days all have reasons and areas they feel called to – nursing is the vehicle for their innovation, the umbrella which their work flourishes under. Perhaps I will keep writing to find the answers they’ve found and daily use to guide their practice with.
I’ve loved writing to you, and I have so many more nurse innovators to share. This is just the start of our conversation.
Thanks for listening,
Amanda Anderson, RN