This I believe…
I believe in the art and science of nursing. Nurses protect the helpless, ease pain, and preserve the dignity of those dying. For 27 years, I’ve been a Registered Nurse. It is more than a profession and much more than a job. Being a Nurse has defined my life, established my mission, and anchored my being in discipline and compassion.
I believe Nurses connect with individuals in times of agony and adversity with skill, humanity, and generosity. I’ve seen how suffering crosses all national, ethnic and cultural boundaries. It is the great leveler of human beings. I’ve learned to think beyond my ethnocentricities and respect the beliefs of my patients, even if I don’t agree with their viewpoint.
As a Nurse, I integrate a huge knowledge of diseases, medications, social systems, coping behaviors and grieving processes, and still manage to be kind during a short-staffed shift. I keep patients safe, and make them feel like more than a room number during a long, painful night. I meet the needs of the family as their lives are disrupted by traumatic events they were not prepared to deal with. I believe in continuing to teach patients how to change their lifestyle, after their second heart attack, even though I know they won’t.
Often, when I least expect it, I’m confronted with profound theological questions that are not abstract discussions for the terrified spouse whose lifelong companion can no longer form intelligible words. Sometimes, I don’t hold back my tears as I listen to the fears that are now realities. I hold a hand, or pat a shoulder, even when I know the time has past for such gestures to have meaning.
To those who know me, I remain a Nurse when I leave my hospital and clinic, even though I have no legal coverage or inclination for independent practice. My family and friends, and friends of friends, call with health questions all the time. Such requests challenge me to maintain the parameters of my licensure, without alienating the worried caller. I’m constantly aware of how easily confidentiality can be breached, and I must guard against an unexpected slip of tongue that might jeopardize the privacy of a patient or colleague.
I believe it is a calling and a privilege to be a Nurse. My interventions are more than part of the hospital’s standard room charge. My compassion brings your father comfort. My skills may save your daughter’s life. My Nursing care will honor your loss.
I believe Nurses are essential and noble in a world that needs nobility of purpose.
This I believe.
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