[Sorry for the delay in getting this up. We ran into some problems with Blogger, our blog host. Thanks for understanding!]
Over the years throughout my journey into the health care industry I have been lucky enough to meet hundreds of nurses, maybe even thousands. Sometimes they pick me up at airports and drive me back to their hospitals. They give me hospital tours, taking me from floor to floor, introducing me to their nurse friends along the way. I have lunch with them. We sit in meetings together. Most of the time I meet them at patient safety conferences where I am a speaker. The nurses are the ones sitting in the front rows, who come up to me after I speak, shake my hand, give me a hug and tell me their own stories of medical errors. They tell me about their patient safety work- the things they are doing to make care safer on the unit.
I am grateful to nurses for many reasons, first of all, for the simple fact that they are nurses. They wake up each day and go to work with one goal in mind- to make someone’s life a little better. They work long hours and are on their feet all day or all night. Sometimes they are short staffed and have to work extra hard. They are being pulled in a million different directions, but they seem to do it all with a smile on their faces. Wherever I go, I always come home with little tidbits of wisdom that I pick up from the nurses I have met:
-When you are on your feet for long hours like they are, the most comfortable shoe is a good quality tennis shoe. The Skecher brand is a favorite, especially the kind with the curved sole. Several nurses I’ve met call them “butt-lifters”. I bought a pair for myself and have not noticed the butt lifting aspect of them, but they are very comfortable. Birkenstocks are also popular, as are the Dansko clogs, which seem to be worn more often by the OR nurses than the floor nurses.
-When I was in Ohio I met a nurse named Mary. She had the prettiest, whitest teeth, so I complimented her on them. She laughed and told me she used the Crest Whitening Strips. A week after I returned from my visit she sent me a package with a box of the advanced formula strips. I’m not sure if she sent them because she thought I needed them or just to be nice- maybe a little of both. I have been using them everyday for a month now, and I really do notice a difference.
-Once I was at lunch with some nurses in Dearborn, Michigan. Chris, the nurse next to me, asked how I was doing with all of the travel and work. I told her I was trying to step back from it all and that I hated leaving my family and that even when I was home I felt like I was working all the time. She suggested that I bake cookies when the children come home (it makes the house smell good and homey), put a flower next to the computer (so I could have something pretty to look at when I work), and to start using a crock pot (to save time on cooking healthy meals for my family). I did all of the things she told me to do, and I continue doing them- except for the crock pot thing. That never really worked out for me. Maybe I need to ask her for some good recipes.
-Sometimes when I am visiting hospitals there are medical terms I don’t understand- like c. diff or BPOC. My nurse friends always give me a thorough, easy to understand explanation.
-Nurses have taught me how to deal with stress and difficult situations. Exercise and reflecting on what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what can be done to make things better tomorrow are just two of the many recommendations they have shared with me over the years.
If I could do it all over again, I would like to join the ranks of this very noble group whom I greatly admire and who have taught me so much, not only about the health care industry, but also about life.
Thank you to all of the wonderful nurses who inspire us to be better, stronger, happier people. Thank you for all that you do for patients and their families. Thank you for your friendship to me and the Josie King Foundation. You are an honorable, humble, smart, wonderful, fun-to-be-with bunch and I am lucky to have met so many of you.
Happy Nurses Week.