Have you thanked a nurse this week?
Leada Gore, Editor
My mother is a nurse. Her sister was a nurse. My husband is a nurse practitioner.
You would think this would mean I would be treated with abundant care if I so much as sneezed, but I learned a long time ago that, in my husband's words, something has to be hanging off of you to merit much attention.
Nurses are a special breed of people. They are kind and compassionate but they also have to be tough. It would be too easy to get your heart broken every day if you didn't develop a thick skin.
Each year, there is a special week set aside to honor nurses. This year's celebration is May 6-12, culminating on the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale is credited with being the founder of modern nursing.
Years ago, my mother earned the Florence Nightingale Award from her nursing school. My mother went back to nursing school after my brother and I were in school and managed to juggle us and her classwork as well.
I guess it prepared her for years of juggling patients and their families.
I don't know what prepares you, however, for the long hours and stressful situations involved with nursing. Medical care is a 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year business. Nurses work Christmas, Thanksgiving and their children's birthdays.
We opened many a Christmas present early or late just so my mother could be there before she left for the hospital.
Before her retirement, my mother managed an oncology unit at a large hospital. When she retired, she stayed home for about six months only to return to work for a large doctor's practice.
She enjoys the people, she said.
And I guess that's what makes the long hours and tough situations worth the sacrifice. You have to be committed to something higher than a paycheck to be in the healthcare field. Nurses are on the front line, dealing with all the shrapnel and fending off the blows.
But sometimes, that sacrifice is recognized.
My mother tells the story of visiting my younger sister's kindergarten class many years ago.
She spoke to the class about healthcare, letting them all listen to their own heartbeats through her stethoscope. She also spoke on how girls can be doctors and boys can be nurses.
When she was finished, one little boy tugged on her white uniform and looked up at her with big eyes.
"Miss Connie, are you a nurse?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied.
"Wow. I thought you were just a doctor."
Happy nurses week to all.