Coming Full Circle
By teaching nursing students, I have met some remarkable women and men. I had no idea I would be reacquainted with someone who touched my life in my college days in the early 1980s. I also had no idea that today this inspirational lady would be one of my very best friends, Alice Brogan, MSN, RN.
Mom always told me 'what goes around comes around'. With Alice, that was a good thing! Mom didn't always mean it quite like that!
Alice must have thought I was a 19 year old mess when she was my nursing instructor. I was only certain of one thing. I wanted to be a psychiatric nurse.
I never forgot Alice in the 33 years that I have been a nurse. She is unforgettable. As my Community Nursing Instructor in my B.S.N. program, she gave me permission to be myself, focusing on the specialty that I feel passionate about to this very day. She told me I would know if I needed a prescribed amount of medical - surgical experience.
How wonderful that my first position after graduation was in a busy Admissions Unit where I could combine both my psychiatric knowledge theory base with my recent medical-surgical studies. Alice taught me that if I looked hard enough I could find just what I was looking for.
Call it luck? Call it coincidence? Call it a blessing? While being interviewed at my alma mater for a position as a Nursing Instructor, Alice's name came up! It was 2004, and I had not seen her since 1982. Much had happened! I was anxious, but delighted, to be given her contact information.
I had always perseverated about her age. Alice seemed so wise, that I figured she must be about 100! After learning of our approximate ten year age difference, I am feeling rather spry at 90 years of age!
The first thing Alice did when we met was apologize. She'd prayed so hard for me, when I most needed it, in 1999. However, this had also been a rough personal time for her.
Today, our friendship and gabby lunches (lights flashing, time to leave, ladies) are treasures to me. I pick her brain, still and shamelessly. I will always love and respect her as my mentor and role model as a nurse and a teacher.
The following is an email Alice recently shared with me. I can see her sharing this with her students - with her beautiful smile and reminding them of the importance of communication with your patients and confidentiality.
A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph 's Hospital. She timidly asked,
"Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"
The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number
of the patient?"
The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302."
The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."
After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."
The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news."
The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?"
The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me anything!"
I thought today was a wonderful day to share my inspirational and funny friend with you - as Alice celebrates her wedding anniversary with Jim. Wishing you both a day filled with love, peace, smiles and music, and hoping you enjoy this Josh Groban song and video.
Until next month, sending peace and hugs,
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