Two weeks before my freshman fall term started, I decided to switch my major from psychology to nursing. During high school I had participated in a Health Careers Occupations program and fell in LOVE with a Child Life Specialist that I shadowed at our local Children's Hospital. I was determined to do that type of work, and at that exact Children's Hospital even, due to the fact that during my junior high and high school years, I was very active in a non-profit organization made up of youth called Kids Making Miracles. This organization helped raise $1 million dollars by my senior year which helped break ground to build a new, state of the art, children's hospital at OHSU. So I had a very special place in my heart for the new hospital that was soon going to be present in our community.
So nursing school it was. And I can not even begin to imagine what my life would be like if I had not made that last minute change. Nursing has been the most amazing, exciting, heart wrenching, life changing, heart warming and humbling career. It is one that offers never ending learning opportunities. It is one that affords you the opportunity to specialize in endless areas. It provides ease in finding work in any location around the world. And for me, most importantly, it has given me the gift of being welcomed to walk along side patients and families in either their most exciting times, or their worst/most heartbreaking times.
I have been able to capture photos of mothers and fathers who were holding their beautiful babies for the first, and last time, as their infant was removed from life support in my care..... providing them with a life long keepsake that only I was able to provide them.
I have had the extreme honor of rocking a baby as they passed away when their parents were too heartbroken to be there to watch their child take their last breath.
So to all of the nurses out there, THANK YOU from Patient+Family Care. THANK YOU for ALL that you do. Not just this week, but each and every day! You truly make a difference in the lives of those that you care for. Never underestimate what impact you can have on a life.... despite the feelings of having to do more with less, despite feeling like you have so many "check marks" in the EMR, despite some of the staffing challenges your face and despite the rules and regulations that often times make you feel like your hands are tied. Being authentically present, listening to patients and families and showing grace and compassion are all gifts we can give EVERY patient and family no matter what our circumstance.