Today is National Nurses Day. In fact, the entire week, we honor the caregivers who follow the orders given by the doctors in our care, make sure that we follow those orders, and with all the care in their heart. In fact, for the last year, their career choice has exposed and challenged them to no levels ever expected when the first stepped foot inside of med school.
I often brag of the fact that in my fifty-five years of age, that I have had only three primary care doctors, my current one going on over thirty years. And any specialists I see, I am just as loyal to them. These doctors know me inside and out. I do not have to waste time, reciting my health history every time, because of a new doctor I have to see. The same can be said for the nurses that have cared for me.
I remember nearly every one of my nurses in my adulthood, and most of my childhood. My family doctor nurses, my oncology nurse (an irreplaceable team member for my cancer), and the multiple nurses that have taken care of me during each and every one of my health crisis and surgeries. I remember them all by name, and what they did for me.
Today, many of my friends in my circle are nurses.
The challenges that nurses face, I can only understate, because I truly have no idea what is a part of their average day, only what it took to care for me and my current issue. I know that in the hospital environment, they often worked at minimum, a twelve hour shift, multiple days in a row. I know that regardless if in a clinic or office setting, or in the hospitals, nurses suffer losses of those that they care for, and are needed to continue on with their care for others.
I know that many of these heroes are selfless caregivers, prioritizing their careers over their families. Most, would not do anything else with their lives.
My last interaction with nurses occurred earlier this year, and I had to deal with three of them. All of them were nurses less than three years, two of them, just over a year. Which means, in just their short career, they had to work through one of the worst crisis in over a hundred years. Welcome to nursing.
As I am prone to do, I love to talk to my nurses, because it gives me an opportunity to let them know, that I appreciate everything that they do for me (as a frequent patient especially). All three nurses were young, as I said, but they had no issue sharing their grief and sorrow at the things that they had seen over the last year, not only wishing that things had gone differently, but that others would have taken it more seriously. They did not complain about the exposure risks caring for those who denied the virus as serious. They did their job. But there is not doubt, the impact this crisis has already had on their short careers. They have already seen in one year, suffering and death that most nurses would likely experience in their entire career. And yet, these nurses have no intention of giving up. And that is what makes nurses so special. They have a gift, to care. And they do it well.
I will come across many more nurses in my lifetime of that I am sure. And it will not be just May 6th every year that I make sure that they know that I appreciate them, but every day of the year.