Have you ever wondered how many ways there are to be a nurse?
How many nursing specialties there are? How many places nurses can work. How many ways nurses can touch your heart. And how many ways you can touch ours.
Over the hundreds of years of nursing history, so many things have changed… technology, instrumentation, science, medications, safety, procedures, charting, education, outreach, uniforms, roles, men, women and more.
Nursing used to be one huge, enormous role encompassing everything that went into caring for any kind of patient, any kind of disease and any kind of environment. Nursing changes as our society changes. As our cultures change. As we learn more about ourselves, our bodies, our health and our environment. One thing hasn’t changed though… in all the years, in all the technology, in all the science, in all the medications, in all the uniforms and in all the charting…
Nurses takes care of us in our mind, bodies, spirit and within our environments.
They take care of us when we can’t. They take care of us when we need assistance. They teach us about our health, our treatments and our options. They protect us when we can’t protect ourselves. They close the curtain when we are on the commode. Today, over years of societal, educational, scientific and cultural evolution, this one role has branched out into many specific roles.
Like stars in the skies…
Nurses and Nursing has created specialties that have allowed us to enter, support and protect people in any possible walk of life. Last year, during a writing project, I counted 75 special types of nursing and nurses. [here in the picture]. And as I write this post, I am sure I have missed many, and don’t know about even some more. And isn’t that the amazing thing about Nursing?
So many ways… to touch hearts. To heal. To support. To teach. To care.
And so many ways for us to learn too… about helping others. About science. About technology. About education. About places and people and cultures in the world. And, about ourselves.
So, when you are tired…
When you have done 7 shifts in a row. When you stayed for overtime and then went home to take care of your family. When you are traveling for nursing and are somewhere you have never been, all alone. When you cleaned poop for the 12th time today and got pee on your new shoes. When you haven’t eaten or gone to the bathroom in 10 hours and are looking at what your patient left on their tray in earnest…
Your patients may not remember your name.
They may not even remember you. They may fight you. Yell at you. Fire you. We know that some are too ill to know us. And we know that some don’t want to. But they will always be influenced in some way, that you cared for them.
Look out the window. Look up at the sky. Know that there are millions of Nightingales out there looking up too.
Consider the amazing history you have together. Consider what your Nightingale ancestors, elders, and community have all accomplished. Consider the barriers and ceilings you have broken in the name of caring for others. And consider what you mean to those you take care of. And those you fought and pushed and persisted in your efforts to take care of. You may have chosen nursing as a career for one of a dozen reasons. And in some way, nursing chose you. And if you let it… all of us will never be the same.
You are like the stars in the skies. And you are someones’ star today. This moment.
Keep going. Keep learning. Keep traveling. Keep reaching out. Keep inspiring. Keep your Nightingale spirit going. You are the legacy that is providing the platform for Nightingales after us. Inspire and Be Inspired, Nightingales! Audrey