Mom told me I got my middle name out of gratitude to her nurse, Helen, when she had me. How sweet is that? I never got to meet or thank Helen, so sharing her legacy seemed appropriate here.
In my toddler years, I nursed my fleet of stuffed animals--ever patient when I patched them up.
As a kid, I asked “Why?” ... all the time. Mom put me in the same category as Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer. I wasn't sure about that but have always loved learning others' stories and what makes people tick.
Two favorite childhood book series, Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew, left lasting impressions. I adored Cherry, who was a symbol of everything a nurse should be, as she taught me the many possible roles of a nurse. I was entranced by young detective, Nancy, from whom I learned concepts of patience and persistence in fact finding. I know now that nurses are true detectives.
In high school, we were able to choose our community service project. I immediately knew I wanted to volunteer at the nursing home, directly across the street from our school. Always anxious before an oral presentation or debate assignment, I felt instantly at home chatting with the residents. I imagined them being my own grandparents, who were either long deceased or living in Georgia. I was fascinated with their personalities, behaviors and the stories they shared.
Having to wait until the minimum age of fourteen, I spent a couple memorable summers volunteering as a candy striper at the very hospital I was born in. My favorite assignment was escorting patients in wheelchairs to their medical procedures, the roots of my nursing talk and walk style.
During these years, I was entranced with the nurses who were angelic in style, radiating compassion and concern for their patients. I also felt anxious and confused when other nurses swept through the unit like a witch on a broom. I learned early on that kindness counts in every interaction, no matter how brief.
I am eternally grateful to my mother who encouraged and supported my siblings and me in choosing the life path that we are most content with. It was a no-brainer that I chose to enter a nursing program right out of high school.
Thirty-three years later, I am a nurse of the head and the heart for life. I've never had a job in nursing. My early years naturally led to my career choice. Becoming a nursing instructor twelve years ago, my role in influencing and guiding the nurses of tomorrow remains a constant source of joy and fulfillment.
I found this quote which speaks to me of the reciprocal benefits of nursing...
The longer I’m in the profession, the more experiences shape my life, the more amazing colleagues influence me, the more I see the micro and macro power of nursing.”
Mom was my earliest role model for written expression and also the absolute best proof-reader I've ever known.
Everyone has a story. Hope you enjoyed a bit of mine. I'd love to hear your story about the early experiences that may have led to your career or line of work. Leave me a comment or an email.
Until next time, enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons, and find inspiration both where you work and play,
Something awaits us all.
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