Thursday, February 12

Nursing Shortage

I've been reading a lot lately about the nursing shortage here in Birmingham. I have been a nurse for 18 years. I have worked in hospitals, home health care, clinics and physician's offices. Everywhere I go I find others like me who have a deep compassion for others. Being a nurse is difficult but so rewarding. It takes a special person, filled with the love of God, to be a nurse. We are His hands in this world. Our smiles, our touch and our tender loving care really do make a difference in the lives of our patients.

I have a friend at work now that is taking her pre-requisite courses for nursing school. I'm not sure what motivates her? It can't be the promise of a great income because nurses really don't make much money. I wonder if she realizes just what nurses do? Is she ready to hold the hand of a dying patient or see the tears of the family? Could she bathe an adult who is incontinent? Will she be able to look at a festering wound and gently clean and redress it? Can she be patient enough with her patients? Will she be careful?

I hear her on the telephone with our patients. Sometimes she is abrupt, almost abrasive, hurrying through her conversations. I wonder what the person on the other end is thinking...does she really care?

You have to be a care giver to be a nurse. Giving is the key. Not everyone can be a nurse. It is a special calling to serve others. I'm not surprised that there is a shortage of nurses but it concerns me. Will there be someone to take care of me when I need a nurse?

"Compassion is a hard-won state of being. Much more than a feeling, compassion is a choice to view suffering is a universal experience. This means viewing illness, loss, and even death as human experiences that are bearable with support. This helps us remain calm and keep our hearts open, and we become able to sit with someone in great physical or emotional pain. Compassion bridges the distance between people often created by suffering. This is not comfortable to do, as we must acknowledge their problems might reflect our own future."

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