I remain in nursing because of you.
We have yet to meet but, if you are my patient someday, this is what I will do for you.
Because of you, I will use my best communication skills. If you birthed a child with an unexpected outcome, I will be there. If you want to talk, I will listen. If you want to cry, I will cry with you. If you are afraid, I will sit with you. If words fail me, I will give you the comfort of my silence.
Because of you, I will look-up new medications to make sure I understand what they do and how to correctly administer them. If you are a scared preteen, newly diagnosed with diabetes, I will listen to your anxieties about being different than the rest of the kids. Yet, I will encourage you to work with me as I teach you about the medications you will need and administer. I will check back with you later to see how you are coping and if the medications worked.
Because of you, I will read articles in nursing journals and research periodicals so my care will reflect evidence-based practice. If you are a young college student hospitalized with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), I will use the latest techniques to protect you from further vulnerability. I will even look up new words in a medical dictionary so I can clearly understand what nurse authors and nurse researchers are recommending I do for you.
Because of you, I will believe in the words of William Shakespeare who wrote, “You shall see wonders.” I will see the wonder of your ability to heal physically from surgical repair of your injuries supported by my nursing skills. If you are a middle-aged wife diagnosed with permanent disability inflicted by your abuser, I will show you how to heal mentally and physically and I will stand in awe of your ability to grasp the meaning of just being alive despite slow progress and blows to your spirit.
Because of you, I will support your family and friends and give them a listening ear, deliver impartial truths, and convey genuineness when I face them. If your brother delays his retirement to financially support you and take care of your psychiatric needs, yet is angry about the burden of your continual hospitalizations, I will not back away but will remain to hear his concerns and negotiate a resolution that satisfies.
Because of you, I will encourage your determination to remain independent for as long as possible. If you are a senior with breast cancer treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy, I will applaud your goal of being back on the ski slopes before winter’s end. I will smile when I visualize your graceful efforts to glide down a mountain, gray hair flying from under your woolen hat while you joyfully exclaim, “Wha-hoooo!”
Because of you, I will have quiet conversations with you as your life’s journey becomes uncertain. Whether you remain in the hospital or head to the familiar surroundings of your home, I will help with preparations, gather the people you want to have with you, and orchestrate the best of final moments.<?p>
At the end of the workday, I will go home knowing that you gave me more than I have given you. You gave me the opportunity to care for you, and to determine the outcome of your challenges today. I may smile when I get home or cry, or simply fall exhausted into bed knowing that whatever your age in years, you deserved my best and…because of you, I remain in nursing.
Amy J. Chaffin is associate professor, Nevada State College School of Nursing, Henderson, Nevada.
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