|I am a nurse|
A simple yet profound statement. It is more than a stating of a chosen profession, it is also a commitment to a vocation. As Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said to us, "I truly believe that nursing is a calling."
It means I have put in the long hours studying needed to survive nursing school, where half my classmates didn't finish. It means I continue my education to stay current in an ever changing world of medicine.
It means I can manage ventilators and multiple IV drips, deliver babies, assist in and manage an OR, monitor chemotherapy and blood transfusions with compassion, manage a trauma patient, run a cardiac arrest code, recognize subtle changes in my patients and react, monitor cardiac rhythms, and as an APRN, independently diagnosis, treat and follow up.
It also means I can listen and hold the hand of my patients and their families, be they a small child with a boo boo, an elderly person in their last hours, or a psychiatric patient doing the best that they can.
I work in hospitals, SNFs, jails, clinics, and wherever I am needed.
I go by the title of RN, APRN, Nurse Anesthetist, and LPN.
I am a nurse.
But WHAT is a nurse?
A nurse is someone who places the needs of others above their own, who advocates for those who cannot, who teaches a better way to live, who places people above personal profit. These are people who engage in the activity of nursing.
Then surely the parent watching over their child is a nurse. Surely the child caring for their elderly parent is a nurse. Surely the spouse of a terminal patient is a nurse.
Everyone recognizes Florence Nightingale as a nurse, but so was Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandi, and Cesar Chavez. They all advocated for others, regardless of the trouble it might bring them.
As I look around my hospital I see all kinds of nurses, not all with letters after their names. The people making the food, cleaning the rooms, protecting the staff, have all put the patients above themselves at one point.
When I look at my community I see nurses: fire, police, ems, teachers, religious leaders, our brothers and sisters in the military and more, all wearing the uniform of their particular calling and all doing their part.
You see, being a nurse is not a job, it is a calling. It is less what we do, and more who we are. It is a way of life.
I am a nurse.