May 6th, 2007

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Today Is... Two Things

Today is National Nurses Day in the U.S.A.; this day starts a week commemorating Nurses, who we are and what we do, and culminates on Florence Nightingale's birthday, May 12. Florence's birthday is also known as International Nurses Day (information about that via the same link above).

My reasons for entering the Profession seemed simple at the time; the shortest path/time between one job through another job to a third job and means to take care of myself. The first job I frequently refer to now as 'Federally Subsidised Tourist' and actually was as U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman. I opted for the short path/time through the second job (Nursing Student) because I could do it, and also (even though it took some time to work through to this realisation) because I like helping people.

In the words of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite groups, what a long, strange trip it's been. I've lost count of the people I've helped; some stand out in my mind out of the host. Many of them remember me, and I've learned another lesson in that manner, sort of about fandom as it were. There's one of your favorite (writer/actor/artist/musician/InsertRoleHere), but to them, there's thousands, millions of us. They all blur together given enough time, into one amorphous Humanity.

Along the way, it also came clear to me that being a Nurse isn't a job. Oh, sure, we get paid for what we provide, everybody needs to make a living. Being a Nurse is about how we think, and as De Carte said, "I think, therefor I am." We think like Nurses, therefor we are Nurses. Our licenses, while important, merely provide us the legal ability to provide Nursing care. You see the tip of the iceberg when you receive that Nursing care. You don't see the data gathering, the assessment, the planning, the Educated Judgment that took place leading up to the intervention (the Nursing Care you saw). You don't see the thinking.

Leah Curtin, RN is one of my favorite (writer/nurses/artist/teacher). What I said above applies. I've met her, sat with her during lunch and chatted with her, and I doubt she remembers me. There's one of her; I am part of the Amorphous. She speaks at many professional meetings, has been an editor of several Nursing publications and currently is the driving force behind Curtin Calls. You need to go read that, whether you are a nurse or not. One of her common themes in her presentations addresses the word, Professional. What does it mean? Where does the word come from? And her lessons in that presentation led to this.

I Am

One who serves
New-age samurai
Protector of innocents
Defender of the ill and maimed
Torn-spirit healer
Fireman extinguishing
agony’s flames
Sentinel watch-stander
through dark hours
Lamp-lighter
Hand-holder
Guiding to health
Guardian of wellness.

Standing in the forum
Before my countrymen, to
Profess
I am learnéd in science and skills
I am One Who Serves
I am a Nurse.

September 30, 2002

Oh... and it's also jehannamama's Birthday. She's a retired Nurse. So how cool is that! Happy Birthday, Nurse jehannamama.