As we all know, every day should celebrate nurses, but every now and again, it’s good to highlight all the work that they do for us and today is one of those days – it is International Nurses Day!
Coming up to today I started reflecting on all the nurses we have met along the way during our personal journey in the health system. A few memories in particular always leave a lasting impression on me.
The first was when a nurse sat down at the side of my bed and simply held my hand as I cried upon learning that our youngest daughter needed heart surgery. Such a simple gesture but it meant a lot to me at a time when I was at one of my lowest points and terrified about the future.
The most striking memory for me was when I was in Crumlin for five weeks with our heart baby and I was told we had to move out to a different ward temporarily as other sick babies had been admitted. I told them this was no problem at all and started packing our things, but inside my heart was heavy. I was just so lonely from being away from all my family and my other children in Co. Mayo, but because I had made friends and found security in the other moms I had met on St Theresa’s ward, this had helped me a lot to get through every day. I quickly put aside my thoughts, gathered my things, and my baby, and moved into the other ward.
After I settled in however, I started to cry silently.
Little did I know that one of the nurses from St Theresa’s ward was going to pop in to make sure I was settled okay and when she did, that was how she found me, crying quietly into one of my daughters blankets. I tried to wipe away the tears and pretend I was okay, but she wasn’t having it. Guiltily I told her that I knew other babies needed the space but I was just so lonely being away from my children, and this, added to the loss of the security of my new little network of moms – made me feel…alone. I told her I would be fine, it was probably just sheer tiredness and hormones that had me upset. The nurse looked at me wide-eyed and quickly left the room. Within five minutes she came back and said that we were moving back as she had arranged a special room for us in the ward I had come to know as my new home. I couldn’t believe it.
I won’t ever forget that moment – she completely empathised with me and knew that I was just barely coping with the overwhelming stress of having a very sick newborn.
Kindness costs nothing, but meant everything to me that day.
There are so many other stories I could share, and some are just really practical things that mean a lot, for instance the time when our clinical nurse specialist in Crumlin said we could email him at any time. Now this may not seem like a big deal to many, but when you are trying to get complicated medications sorted out for your sick child, or are worried about their symptoms there is nothing like the reassurance knowing you can reach out to a specialist in their field to ask for guidance – knowing you will always get a personal response. This is not a regular occurrence in the health system but that is often not down to the fact that nurses don’t want to do it, sadly it occurs simply because of a lack of resources or IT in their hospital.
This list goes on and on.
I also learned a lot from nurses by bringing MediStori into the public health system.
The professionals who loved our patient held record the most were, you named it, yes, nurses.
They often were the first and last point of contact with patients, carers and their families and they knew just how overwhelmed people could be when being asked questions about tests they had, previous medical history and managing medications. They knew MediStori could help so many. And they were more than happy to promote it and educate patients on how to use it and bring it back into clinics. They knew that if they did this, it could take a huge amount of stress from patients, in the home.
This is what a nurse does best.
They provide a real human connection and care in more ways than just medically. They look at people holistically with an aim to understanding their needs. They work with doctors and many, many other health professionals – they keep the wheels turning.
So today for International Nurses Day, I personally want to say thank you to all the nurses and midwives who have shown me kindness, educated me, hugged me, hugged my girls, or even just held my hand in times of need.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way so I feel it would be great if we could show our kindness and gratitude back in return!
If you have a story you would like to share by means of thank you to our nurses, please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. Additionally, you can go on Twitter and use the hashtag #celebratenurses