It’s amazing to think that the students I’m teaching today are about the same age I was when I entered the field of behavioral health nursing, back in May, 1983.
I wasn't quite prepared for the hospital environment I entered as a graduate nurse. I was 21-years-old, not at all ready for the psychiatric diagnoses and the staff personalities I was about to encounter. It was fairly easy to get me to blush furiously or burst into tears, sometimes within the space of five minutes.
A terror of a nurse, named Jeanette, took me "under her claw". I grew to both fear and respect her simultaneously. One of her first lessons to me, no matter what the circumstance, was to rise above it! In my early years, I remembered this mantra as I gained confidence in dealing with all types of staff and patient behaviors.
Through the years, as I was promoted into educational and managerial positions, Jeanette, who always remained an excellent Charge Nurse, would respectfully remind me to rise above it, when she was in a Union capacity or at a Committee meeting. Many of us sadly attended her funeral in the mid-90s, shortly after her retirement on medical disability. She had left a large void at the hospital. This nurse was grumpy on the exterior but soft on the inside. She taught all she knew from her heart and soul.
Little did Jeanette know that her words would be my mantra during the darkest 46 hours of my life, when a colleague and I were held at gunpoint by man who could not be reasoned with. I knew that I could not speak or I would be shot again. He was way too volatile. The only choice I had was to keep telling myself to rise above it.
And I thought about other strong women in heaven like my mother-in-law, Arlene, Lillie and Clem and how they would all be helping me rise above it.
Our thoughts are more powerful than we realize. Only we have control over them. I know there were other variables at play that resulted in my ultimate survival in 1999. However, I stand firm that positive thinking throughout the ordeal helped me to keep my inner strength and to survive remarkable odds.
As such, I haven't given up on Jeanette's mantra. Whether the speedy roadster who cut me off on the way to work or the gentleman at the Mall who slams the door in my face as he is rushing to enter, it’s probably best to rise above it. The offending party probably has something heavy on their mind or could just be rude. It isn't worth ruining my day.
Mom and Jeanette were "cut from the same cloth". They both taught me valuable life lessons. Most of what offends us is truly minor in the grand scheme of things. Think about how much effort you want to expend on petty grievances.
"WHEN I AM HASSLED ABOUT SOMETHING, I STOP AND ASK MYSELF WHAT DIFFERENCE IT WILL MAKE IN THE NEXT TEN MILLION YEARS, WHICH HELPS ME GET BACK MY PERSPECTIVE." ANNE WILSON SCHAEF
Someone else who is great for giving me perspective is Andy Jordan, my rowdy Black Labrador puppy. Please indulge me as I share a collection of our boy playing with some Easter treats from his Auntie Elyse:
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