Thursday, January 19, 2012

being a nurse

I love working with students. I love helping them use their skills, compassion, life experiences, and wisdom to transform themselves into nurses. The students inspire me to be a better teacher, nurse, and human being.

When I lecture, it's to an audience of 70 students in five sites. I speak to 40 or 50 people locally, and beam out to distant rural hospitals. I take a small group to hospitals and nursing homes.

My clinical group usually consists of eight students. We put on nursing scrubs and go to medical institutions. I teach them about the culture, practices, and procedures. I enjoy getting to know these students, and showing them my philosophy of nursing. I strive to model compassion, critical thinking, and teamwork.

When we are in the medical institutions, I wish I could be everywhere at once, but I am able to spend just small bits of time with each student. So I ask them to email me weekly, to tell me what they learned. Last year a student emailed me. Her patient was in a hospital, and being transferred to a hospice. She described how she cared for him. She bathed him, and positioned him for his comfort. She talked to him, not knowing if he could hear her. She said she did just "small stuff." She asked me if she had done the right things.

I responded: "Thank you so much for providing excellent care to your patient. I'm so proud. Yes, sometimes the "small stuff" is everything. And sometimes the most important, meaningful, and wonderful things you do are done silently and almost anonymously. No one saw you do those wonderful things for your patient. But you did them. Thank you. Sometimes nursing is the most humble profession."

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