“They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
Nurses have a special place in my heart. My mom was a nurse for nearly 50 years. She did everything from emergency room to oncology…from candy striping to Head Nurse. She ended up doing the really hard stuff…nursing cancer patients who most likely never left, once they entered her unit. I asked her once, after volunteering for exactly one shift, before deciding I was not cut of the same cloth as these nurses, how she could go in day after day knowing her patients outcome was so grim. She said what most nurses must think on a daily basis, “I know that I am helping them, comforting them, making their time the best it can be and I am helping their families, too.” I can’t imagine how many people she has touched over the years…people that will never forget how she made them and their loved ones feel.
There were many perks to having a nurse for a mom. For instance, she would crush up our medicine and mix it into grape jam so we would not taste it. Except the one time we ran out of jam and she mixed it into relish. Or, having her ready and waiting at the hospital as you are headed to the ER by ambulance after flipping over the handle bars of the bike you were not supposed to ride to school, while wearing your her brand new shirt that you weren’t supposed to wear. (I think I recall asking the ambulance driver if we could go to the hospital in the next town over instead!) Or watching her surgically remove the ticks off of all the neighborhood dogs. Or having an ample supply of latex gloves, surgical masks, tongue depressors, and gauze to play with. But truly, having her jump into action when one of us was sick, staying by our side those long nights with ear infections or tummy aches, and for me, being at my bed side in the hospital after surgery every single day, is what I think about when I think of what it means to be a nurse.
“Nurse Jill,” my sister-in-law, has been my go-to for every boo boo and ailment my kids have ever had. If she didn’t know the answer off the top of her head, she was looking it up. She is a problem solver, a cross referencing queen, a soother and a teacher. She questions everything and hunts for answers until the right one is found. Her ability to remember illnesses, symptoms, medications, etc. is absolutely amazing. She jumps into action as soon as a need arises. I’ll never forget her sitting so patiently, extracting about 100 splinters from the feet of my middle daughter, who had run across an old deck barefoot. I don’t do skin things (or eyeballs or teeth or fluids…see why I’m not a nurse?!) Of course, then there’s the late night phone calls, running some odd symptoms by her over the phone and her urging me to get to the ER, just in case, which turned out to be very much the case. Always there for me, always attentive, always looking for answers, always a nurse first.
And just last night, my niece, Danielle, joined the ranks of the best of the best by earning her white nursing cap. She has overcome so much and worked so very hard to get to this moment, and I am confident because of that, she will make an incredibly driven, caring nurse. She has always been a very loving, thoughtful person as well as very bright and quick to learn. These assets will prove to be invaluable as she begins her journey in nursing. And though her goal may be to help her patients, her mark on their lives will be unforgettable.
I made this little gift for her and chose the light hearted typeface, Princess Sophia, because it has a casual, fun feel and it works well in all caps for the word “Nurse.” The wood was a little more rough hewn than the barn wood I usually use, but I was still able to retain crisp lines with a little more patience and time! I’d love to hear about the special nurses in YOUR life! And of course, I’m always happy to make a special something for you and yours!