2020 has been declared the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. I cannot think of a group of people more deserving of recognition than the hard-working, often taken for granted, nurses and midwives. Nurses are the backbone of healthcare. We help bring babies into this world and close the eyes of those who have passed away. We often neglect our own needs and health to restore yours.
Why? Because we want to provide the best care possible for your mother, brother, grandma, or friend… treating them as if they are our own family members. We as nurses not only have the knowledge to care for your loved one, but we also have endless amounts of concern and compassion. We spend time away from our own families to care for your family member. We risk our lives to save yours.
With the current Coronavirus pandemic, nurses again are on the front lines. We are risking our own lives to care for those affected by this virus. We risk bringing home germs to our own families, not because we are forced to do so, but because this is just what we do. We run toward the crisis, not away. The next time you see a nurse, thank them for their service. We often feel as if what we do goes unnoticed. We don’t do what we do for recognition, but it sure recharges our batteries when we feel appreciated.
Not just anyone can be a nurse, though. Nursing takes a special kind of person. There has long been a saying, “Nurses are born, not made.” There is so much truth in those five little words. My mother relates, that from the time I was old enough to write, I would hold “clinic” in our kitchen. My stuffed animals were my patients and I would make each of them a chart. I would thoughtfully assess each of them, bandage their “owies,” and write prescriptions for them. She and I always knew I would work in the medical field, though I did not officially decide to become a nurse until my first semester of college.
At the young age of 18 and in my last year of high school, my grandad received a lung cancer diagnosis. I slowly watched the horrible disease consume him. As I entered my first semester of college, he began to decline and spent increasingly more time in the hospital. I watched the nurses care for him, so thoughtful in their actions and with so much concern for his wellbeing and also for the wellbeing of our family. I was in awe of them. I wanted to care for someone like that and knew that nursing, rather than medicine, was my calling.
Now, almost 20 years later, I have found my passion within nursing in the field of oncology. I have come full circle. I care for patients affected by cancer, much like those precious nurses cared for my grandad all those years ago. If I can leave a lasting impression on my patients, like those nurses left on me, I will count my career a success.