When people ask me what I do, first and foremost, I say, “I’m a nurse.” It is an honor and joy to be a part of this profession. When I had FBC (f-bomb breast cancer for new readers), I felt an instant bond with and gratitude for the nurses who took care of me, both in the clinic as well as in the hospital.
One Silver Lining from my ’bout with FBC was particularly memorable. At one point during chemo I was so sick and dehydrated that I needed intravenous (IV) fluids – every day. One of my kind, compassionate and generous nurses (along with my oncologist) met me at the clinic – on a SUNDAY – to give me fluids so that I wouldn’t have to go to the emergency room. Yes, it was as amazing as it reads.
When I thanked them profusely, my nurse said, “It’s nothing.” That is the same response that I often gave my patients when I went the extra mile for them. My thought was always, “it’s just what we do.”
As a nurse-turned-patient, I now know that this generosity of time and spirit is not nothing. Far from it. It means the world – the absolute world! – to patients. So, I’m happy that there is a week that celebrate nurses. As a patient, I can honestly say that nurses make all the difference in the world!
On March 25th, 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation naming May 6th as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” It evolved into National Nurses Week. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
If you have the opportunity this week, please say a little extra “Thank You” for the nurses who are caring for you.
* The photograph was taken during one of my chemo treatments by my dear friend Elizabeth Messina.