Source: An Open Letter to Joy Behar
Every year during nurse’s week I dress in my white dress, stockings, shoes, and cap. This year I’ll have a new pair of shoes to compliment the look. But I am still pining for the emblem of a “super” nurse—the cape!
Dun da da DUN!
This iconic piece of nursing history is on my wish list. I truly want to add it to my collection and bring it out every May for the occasion—not as a costume piece, but as an homage to my profession and as a way to show my devotion to this vocation. I truly feel this is a regal image with my cap as my crown and trophy. Sure it harkens back to the days when we were considered the physician’s handmaiden and we performed less significant roles than we do today, but look how far we’ve come, baby!
For the most part, the cape, or tippet, is a military garment that was created because of the ability to be mass produced and provide that uniform feel. Additionally, some collars identified either the school of nursing or military regiment to which the nurse belonged.
One of these days I hope to have one. Even when I graduate with my masters of science in nursing and then pass my ANCC and/or AANP certification boards. I don’t know how my employer will like my donning that get-up as an APRN, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it.
I am so tired right now. My coursework is getting harder, but I am learning so much. And still days go by with bittersweet sadness and missing my dad. Right now I’m a bucket of sniffles and tears because I just needed to hear his voice, so I found a youtube video he posted. He’s not saying much, just playing a card game with my sister and nephew, Jill (dad’s widow), and Jill’s son.
But I so miss the timbre of his baritone voice. I miss the steel in his speech and affectations he would employ when he’d speak to me, “You’re my angel.” So, it is with resolve that I want to honor him, get back to the task at hand, and rest, hopefully to dream of him.
My absence is fully explained by my dedication to family and school. This journey upon which I’ve embarked is fraught with nonsense and difficult work. And it will be worth it when I reach that goal. The other day I had an “oh my gosh” moment when I was gathering information and getting ready to submit paperwork to potential preceptors for my practicums beginning next year in the summer.
‘I’m really doing this! I’m really going to be a Nurse Practitioner!” Then the self-doubt started. Chest constricting doubt. And anxiety. I think I never felt this as much in my undergraduate studies. The reason is likely related to the investment, both financially and emotionally.
I’m scared of what I don’t know. I’m anxious about what I have to learn and how I’ll learn it. Self-directed study is not as easy as just reading and re-reading material. During my first week of classes back in June I sent my father, a life-long educator, a message. “I can’t believe how much reading I have to do!” His return message offered encouragement, but a dose of reality. “Graduate school is supposed to be harder. But it will be worth it.” That was his brand of advise…he said something very similar at my wedding reception in 1995.
Which brings me to another sad point. At the very end of my first quarter of graduate school, my dad lost his battle with Stage IV gastric carcinoma that had spread to his liver, brain, and lungs. He was hoping to make it to his 60th birthday, January 27, 2015, but he got pneumonia and succumbed to his illness on August 28, 2014. I am more motivated than ever to stay this course so I can honor him and make him proud.
Here is a link to the school’s site honoring him.
I know I’m not the only Nurse Who fan (meaning nurse who likes Doctor Who) but I haven’t found that many yet. That’s ok. I’m doing this for my own entertainment with the hope that someone else likes it too.
I received my new Nurse Day dress in the mail today. I’m not going to spoil it with photos right now, but I’m tickled that I will have a new look to commemorate the occasion and to share the pride and professionalism I have in my vocation. The email discourse that occurred with my order was interesting. The size I ordered was out of stock and the representative informed me so. I asked for a smaller size as she indicated they run big. Lucky me! The smaller size was in stock. Then she congratulated me on graduation. (Apparently, many graduates where dress whites to their pinnings or commencement.) I never attended either. I was uninvited to my pinning because I was failing the on-campus class. Two years later I graduated from another school and they didn’t have pinning ceremonies. Nor did I want to travel to the commencement in New York as I lived in a southern state and had two little babies at the time. This was for my associates in applied science of nursing (AASN), which allowed me to sit for my state boards as an RN.
Now I’m a BSN (didn’t go to that graduation either), about to embark on my graduate studies. I’m what some may call a non-traditional student. Distance and on-line learning is far more common than it used to be, but it is still looked at with skepticism and incredulity by some. Quite unfortunate, really. My opinion is that it doesn’t matter the route, as long as the destination is reached.
So, congratulations to those whose graduations are upcoming, or who is undertaking their journey (at any level and by any means). I applaud you and encourage you to keep your spirits high. It’s a tough journey but well worth it.
Dang, but we’d make great companions to The Doctor, wouldn’t we?
And I plan to do it with a professional style of my own, next Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, as I celebrate the vocation with the emblem of our profession: my dress and cap.
As a nurse, I have a variety of skills and tasks that fill my days. Seldom is my day NOT full. And if it isn’t, well, you can count on being sent home due to low census. There is ALWAYS something to do. There was one day when the computer charting and documenting and scanning and troubleshooting became way overwhelming and the server failed. A coworker started complaining about how was she going to do her work without the computer. I quipped that I was going to actually spend some time with my patients.
Don’t get me wrong. I really like computers. I love spending my free time on them and reading, playing games, connecting with acquaintances and family. Oh. And blogging. Blogging is cool too. But when it comes to patient care, they can make the interaction impersonal. My winning and charming personality can only do so much when I haul a mobile computer in front of you to ask you (for the elebentieth time) your name and date of birth and then, like groceries, I scan you and each of your meds. It is my duty and job to explain to you each medication, its purpose, side effects, and answer any questions. I am happy to do so, but it’s complicated by the fact that you either are not interested, have already heard this, or have other needs. That, or my other patients are also calling me. It’s convenient in this technological age that there are pocket or mobile hospital based phone systems so that I can carry a means of communication with me everywhere…even the bathroom. I get it. It’s convenient when I need to call someone or am waiting for a doctor to call back.
It’s a better day when I can perform all of these tasks effectively, efficiently, yet safely while not neglecting the part that makes me a nurse. The caring. When I can take the time to hold your hand. Be your confidante, pray with you, sing to you, it is a good day. Caring and comforting is integral to who I am as a person, and what makes me a capable nurse. Now, I have learned skills that allow me to perform duties of a registered nurse, sure, but I don’t feel that these tools of the trade are complete without the arsenal of compassion I hold.
It’s what I love about my job. I learn everyday and the techniques I will learn only fortify my practice, but, and this is just how I feel about it, my vocation is the foundation for the occupation. Does that make sense?
So. I am working tomorrow, which is Easter. I will take time to spend with my patients because they won’t be home for the occasion either. I will hold their hand. I will possibly pray with them or sing with them. Whatever interventions I implement, it will be with love, caring, and passion…the kind that fires and motivates me to be in this field.
I joked that I would attend the sunrise service on the unit tomorrow. But, maybe it won’t be a joke. Someone there is missing a real sunrise service.
In all, I hope that all of my patients, despite being hospitalized, will have a good day. And if I have any part in making that happen, then I will have a good day, too.