NOUN:  person who cares for the sick or infirm; specifically: a licensed health care professional who practices independently or is supervised by a physician, surgeon or dentist and who is skilled in promoting and maintaining health.

Nurses week is a time to recognize those who care for others. Profession yes, but more importantly, a way of life.

Most of us go into nursing because of our fascination with the workings of the human body and or we have this inborn desire to care for and help others. It certainly isn’t for the great hours, the five star working environment or the posh clothes.

To be a nurse you must immerse yourself into the patients you are caring for. Every breath, twitch, moan, smile and request, however big or small, becomes your sole responsibility. It is your job to anticipate their needs from the start of your shift until you leave at the end of your day.

I became a nurse because of numerous hospital stays as a child. Yes, the human body did fascinate me. I loved Biology class and taking things apart to see how they worked. (thanks Dad) It was those early, lonely nights on a bed watching the ambulance lights flash on the walls and the big mean night nurse making me take my antibiotics that convinced me I needed to make things better for Pediatric patients everywhere.

The satisfaction this career has given me is immeasurable, the things I’ve seen and heard, felt and relayed are almost indescribable. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to ask.

Ask loads of questions, ask for assignments that you’re just a bit afraid of, ask to see the procedure or ask to go on that transfer. Ask to help, ask to step into that room where they’re performing a surgery or delivering a baby. Ask for the assignment that everyone groans about at the beginning of your day. You will be astonished at what you can and will learn.

Thank you to all the nurses I’ve asked or helped ; taught or learned from; worked along side and played with. Without your constant care, insurmountable dedication and interest in providing the best care possible , our patients would just be numbers on a list, taking up space, until we’ve fixed them up enough to be discharged.

Happy Nurses Week!