When you are entrusted with the health, safety, welfare, and to an extent the comfort, of another person the way that you are when your life’s work is being a nurse, it can be a daunting thing. When we (the collective we of nurses) get out of nursing school, most of us are simply amazed that anybody trusts us with anything! How is it possible that we can be allowed to “take care of” people?!!! Shouldn’t we be in school WAYYYY longer? (Perhaps.) However, one of the most important things that we learn in nursing school is what is “normal”. As long as we know what normal looks like, then we can recognize that which isn’t. And then find somebody (you know, like a doctor) who can tell you what to do to help the abnormal become normal or to keep the abnormal from become moreso. I have been a nurse for (geesh, has it been this long?) 17 years. My little sister, Liz, has been one for about ten months. As much encouragement that I have given her that when she needs it her instinct WILL BE THERE, yesterday she experienced it in a way that no nurse ever forgets.
She called me this morning to share, among other things, her “first success” as a nurse. Not that simply getting through every day isn’t a success, and not that every day isn’t filled with small successes, but she had that success you REMEMBER.
(Here’s where I put the blah blah blah in my blog.) Liz picked up a post-cardiac catheterization retroperitoneal bleed! I won’t explain what that is or how serious it is, but she picked it up early enough so that her patient never even got seriously sick from it! She wasn’t certain that THIS was what was happening, but she KNEW THAT SOMETHING BAD WAS HAPPENING. And because of her instinct, she just might have saved this woman’s life.
And what a privilege it is to be able to part of sending a wife back to her husband and a mother back to her children.
She will remember this patient always as the patient who proved to her that she is a nurse.
Way to go Lizzie!