36 years

Today starts National Nurses Week.

When you’re a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life, or a life will touch yours. ~Author Unknown

To all the peers that I have worked with in my 36 years…thank you for mentoring, consoling, and standing shoulder to shoulder with me. I couldn’t have asked for better co-workers and friends!

To my patients; thank you for allowing me to insert myself into your hours of need. I hope that I helped you heal, grow, or lessen your pain. I have learned from you.

36 years…

36 years of learning. An associates, a bachelors, and a masters degree. The hours of continuing education, the conferences, the presentations, the meetings, the journals, the grand rounds. And the everyday “aha” moments.

36 years. A varied career with jobs on the east coast, west coast, in the north, and in the south, and more than a couple places in between.

36 years of jobs that were always full-time, sometimes working two full-time jobs, some years working a full time and a part-time job, and now just working an overly full-time job. A job where I stayed two weeks—a nursing home setting that I promptly quit. I never saw my patients, and decided that wasn’t how I wanted to practice. A six month job at a Veteran’s hospital, and I decided that wasn’t how I wanted to practice either. Travel contracts that were supposed to last 13 weeks which then lasted a year. Permanent ie “long term” employment that has lasted as long as 9 years now. My wanderlust is strong siren song, and I continually fight the urge to move along to another “permanent” fabulous position.

I have worked in emergency departments, pediatrics, family medicine, med-surg, orthopedics, and occupational med. I have worked at incredibly busy 700+ bed hospitals with a Trauma 1 designation and laid-back, tiny community hospitals with 24 beds. I have also done a smattering of teaching; volunteered with the Red Cross; worked in EMS; sat on a county health board; and still love my hospital medicine position.

36 years. Thousands of patients. Some patients a few days old, with a wondrous life ahead of them; a few patients 100 years old with a wondrous life behind them. Thousands of families, thousands of diagnoses, circumstances and predicaments. Some happy, most sad. I hope that I added dignity and compassion to the sad endings and joy to the happy beginnings.

36 years. Thousands of coworkers, peers and friends. Nurses, physicians, technicians, paramedics and patients that honed my knowledge with their expertise.

And 36 years later, I am still honored to a nurse.

Happy nurses week!

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