Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is this week. There are certain times in the year that it seems natural to pause, think about where we have been, where we are, where we're going, reevaluate life's direction, and give thanks for our blessings. Truth be told, we'd all be better off if we did this more often.
I am blessed in a belief in a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, who loves me the way I am, who gives me the grace (puts people and situations in my life) to become a more loving person, who gives me free will to choose my own path, and who cheers me on and watches over me. If I remember this and base my life on it I do alright.
I am thankful for my family and extended family, I am surrounded by loving sons, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and in laws. Mostly, I'm thankful for Michelle, my best friend, who has somehow survived over 36 years of being married to me.
I am also thankful to have found nursing, it is more than a profession, it is a vocation. It's what I'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life.
Nursing has a responsibility to constantly evaluate itself, correct course when needed, and move forward. It should involve nurses in decisions, it should be patient focused, it should nurture new nurses, it should promote the idea that the bedside nurse is at the pinnacle of the profession, not the starting point.
18 months ago I was unhappy with the direction of nursing at Backus. Today I have hope.
I am thankful to the American labor movement and especially the people of AFT Connecticut. They have guided us, given us the resources needed, and yet we retain our autonomy. Our cause is to correct the direction of Backus nursing and we own that cause.
I am thankful to my coworkers who have dedicated themselves to this cause. You have risked your livelihood because you believe in nursing and are willing to fight for it.
I am thankful for all the support given to the organizing and negotiations committees. We have asked a lot, you have responded. I recognize you have busy lives. I wish I could say thank you, we are done asking, but I cannot. There is more to do, there always is. We will continue to ask and you will respond, because of who you are, loving, caring people. You are nurses.
I am thankful for the trust so many have placed in me. It is a wonderful compliment. I recognize how special this is and what a responsibility it is.
My hope is that because of our work now, sometime in the future, a nurse will pick up on a subtle change in a patient's condition and that will lead to a good outcome. That nurse will be there and have the experience needed to catch the change because we improved conditions so that she wanted to stay at the bedside, was encouraged to stay at the bedside, and was rewarded for staying at the bedside. It is my hope that this will be the norm, not the exception.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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