As we celebrate Nurse’s Week this year, many of us reflect on our careers as nursing professionals. For me personally, it is hard to believe that I have been a registered nurse for 32 years. For many of you, you might think wow! — I must be old. While I am on the older and wiser side of life, I honestly don’t know where the 32 years have gone! The years have flown by. I no longer count the number of days I worked night shift or pulled double shifts or was called to come in to work extra because of extremely high census or being understaffed. What I do think about is the people; the people who have touched my life.
I do feel very fortunate to be a nurse. Nursing is not a glamourous career. It is not filled with lots of perks or a particularly high paying career. Nursing, however, is filled with moments-moments that have changed my life, changed me as a person and made me a better person.
I am a neonatal nurse at heart. I love babies!! I have taken care of newborns in both a very high risk neonatal intensive care unit to well babies in a Mom/Baby setting. I have had the tremendous blessing to witness hundreds, maybe thousands of new lives enter this world. I have also had the blessing to witness the end of life—to hold a newborn who never would have the chance to grow up. I have held bereaved parents in my arms as we both cried over the loss of their child, the loss of their hopes and dreams. Those are moments I will never forget. There is no compensation that could come close to those life experiences. I am truly grateful.
I will never forget the tears of a new mother when I put her baby boy in her arms for the first time. This little baby was very sick when he was born and had to be whisked away and flown out of state to our NICU. This young mother never said a word when I told her I was going to put her baby in her arms. I assumed she had held him. As she sat in the rocking chair anxiously waiting, I secured the chest tubes, IV lines and breathing apparatus and wrapped her baby up in his blankets. Once I got this little guy snug in his mother’s arms, the tears began to flow. I was so taken back! I thought something was wrong. When I asked her why she was crying, she looked up at me and said that this was the first time she was able to hold her son. She told me that she sometimes thought she might never get to hold him. It had been 5 days since he was born and all she had been able to do was sit by his warmer and hold his little hand. I was blown away. Such a simple thing—to hold one’s baby. It was a momentous moment to this new mother. It became a momentous moment to this nurse. I will never forget….
I have also shared so many awesome moments with my co-workers—other nursing professionals. I have worked with some of the best. I wish I could mention them all here but there are far too many. The camaraderie that nurses have for one another is awe inspiring. Maybe it is because we work where life and death are an everyday occurrence and we, as nurses, know the difference our care can make in our patient’s lives. We know our education and critical thinking save lives. We are also aware that just our presence and compassion can make a difference in our patient’s lives. It is through those moments that we know we make a difference. It is those moments I will forever carry in my heart. I will be forever grateful that over 32 years ago, I chose to be a nurse.
Happy Nurse’s Week!
Jackie Prinzi RN, BSN
MCN Healthcare Content Writer
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