On National Nurses Day, we recognize and celebrate YOU!
You watch over us as we come into this world, as we journey through it, and as we leave.
You’re a daily witness to a thousand moments that matter in the cycle of life...the routine and repetitive, the uplifting and inspirational, the tragic and the miraculous.
Long before we were pushing for more women in STEM fields, you were already there. You had to learn math and science along with people skills.
But you don’t brag about how smart you are or make others bow before you.
You just don your scrubs and clogs and get to work.
And there’s a lot of work to be done.
In the mother-baby unit you care for moms and catch babies. You witness the miracle of new life as it slides into this world with a first breath and loud cry.
You are rays of sunshine in the NICU, both nurturing and fighting for the lives of sick babies. Many live and get to go home. Some don’t make it, though not from your lack of effort. Either way, there are tears and then more work.
Pediatric nurses become part of an extended family and watch babies grow into toddlers, then school-aged children, teenagers, and finally, adulthood.
You see pregnant teenagers, youth who’ve overdosed, post-rape assessments, and adolescents struggling with mental health.
You’re the ones we talk to and share our burdens with before the physician enters the room. You’re the ones who provide our follow up care.
Then there are the angels who work in hospice. You comfort the grieving and the dying as their light flickers and fades.
You are the new nurses learning the ropes, the wise sages who’ve been around forever, and everything in between.
Home health and psychiatric nurses and those who work with trauma patients and in the ER.
Bedside nurses, charge nurses, nurse educators and managers. Nurses who understand the technology, balance the books, and oversee large projects and software rollouts.
Those who lead and those who are learning to lead.
Courageous surgical nurses who see what most will never want to see.
Nurses in oncology clinics, cardio rehab, and urgent care dealing with sickness all day.
Vitals watched and charted, meds dispensed, quality control, and compliance with industry regulations.
You’re practical, smart, and salty at times. You know what works and what doesn’t, and you have stories to tell, when given the chance.
Your world is a special nursing community, a tribe. Nursing is your beat, your people, your ‘hood. Your work is your foxhole and you’re in it together.
Your work is to care, and that caring doesn’t just happen at work. It permeates your life and your way of being in the world.
If someone is sick, they call you because you’re the nurse.
If a neighbor’s kid falls or cuts a knee, you’re the nurse.
You’re the natural caregiver in the family because you’re the nurse.
To avoid burnout, you need help, too. And boundaries, though this is easier said than done. Happily, there is now more diversity of language, culture, gender, and experience in nursing. Technology, science, and medicine have come a long way.
But you’re still busy in the trenches, mired with staff shortages, overworked, and overwhelmed. We’ve seen the burnout and the exodus.
Have you taken time to assess what this season might mean for you?
You know the healthcare system is flawed and we must do better, but you’re still proud of the work you do.
And you should be proud. Because you hold us and keep us and you’re all brilliant.
Thank you and Happy National Nurses Day!