Thursday, April 2, 2009

Florence is NOT in the building.

Some days in the ER are great, some not so much. Today was not so much. No one to blame but myself...Got up late, and was cranky all day.

No, today I did not emulate Florence Nightengale.
Today I was more like her:



Okay, maybe not that bad. But close.
Thank God for the weekend. Time to regroup.

I met with my academic advisor yesterday to discuss coursework for the dreaded summer session. We talked at length about a friend of her husband's who is suffering with extreme back pain and is unable to get out and participate in normal life activities. She talked about her struggle reaching out to him: he was irritable, unapproachable, and bitter. Nonetheless, she ignored the "by-products" of pain and was present in a very compassionate way. Nursing is like that sometimes...our minds and bodies want to RUN in the opposite direction, but our hearts stop us and make us care. Often our patients are repulsive: there are unearthly smells, negativity and bitterness, there can be signs of bodily decay, and non-compliance with medical advice is rampant. As nurses we are called to look beyond to the heart of the person suffering and make a connection, no matter what our instincts tell us (which is usually to get the heck OUT!). Often we are the only ones in their lives who do. Go to a nursing home and see how many men and women sit alone day after day. WE become their family.

It's an important vocation. Every one of us struggles. We have good days and bad days. But the bottom line is we make a difference, sometimes in small and seemingly insignificant ways, sometimes in earth-shattering acts of heroism. Every day I ask Jesus, "give me a heart like yours." That's the only way I know how to get the gumption to get up in the morning, put on my scrubs, and walk into the ER. And each new day is a new opportunity to get it right.

Pretty cool job.

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