Last week was Nurses Week. It thrilled me to see everything from billboards to news articles, balloons and other fanfare celebrating this great profession of ours. I didn’t want to blog about Nurses Week. I felt my words would be drowned out by all the other celebratory messages. But it’s a new week, and I still want to celebrate all that nurses are, and do, for the world.
The Work of Hands
Several years ago, I had the honor of interviewing dozens of nurses for my book, Reclaiming the Passion- Stories that Celebrate the Essence of Nursing. The writing of that book further cemented the awe I feel toward nurses and the work they do. But in writing that book, I was struck by the realization of how essential nurses are to the human experience. And what a gift it is to be part of that. After all, it is the nurse’s hands that are the first to hold a newborn at birth. And often the last human touch at the time of death. And in between birth and death, it is the nurse’s hands that gently soothe and skillfully bandage. The work of the hands, of course, is an extension of both the head (intellect) and heart (empathy and compassion).
Over the past 18 months, I’ve relied on my team of nurses to get me through dozens of procedures and cancer treatments. I am glad to report that I am now cancer free. But I owe a debt of gratitude to the nurses who were with me through it all. I was always confident in their skills, but it was their compassion and care for me as an individual that made it bearable.
When we think of the many contributions of nurses in the world, think of the missions of hands that are delivering healing work today and every day. Today, one pair of hands that is providing care for one individual creates a ripple effect in soothing the patient and all those who love and care about that patient.
If you are a nurse and reading this, take a moment to look at your hands. Reflect on how you physically touch dozens of patients each day but impact hundreds in the process. Think of all the nurses around you as well as those who came before and who will come after. You affect billions of lives each day. I’m personally grateful for all that you do and honored to be one of you.