And I ain’t talkin’ candyyyyyyyyyyy.
It’s Nurse’s Week this week aka the one week out of the year when nurses can get free food from Cinnabon. Sweeeeeeeet.
It’s also the week when hospitals, and just regular human beings, show their appreciation for nurses. And if you’re like “ugh another appreciation week for a profession that isn’t mine” then I say be a nurse for one day and let me know how that goes, buster. Every day should be nurses day considering they are the backbone of the health care system. But that’s just my opinion.
There is a commercial that Johnson & Johnson airs during this week for their “Campaign for Nursing’s Future.” You’ve probably seen it on your Facebook newsfeed because it always resurfaces around this time of year and boy is it a real tear jerker. Get your tissues out because HERE IT IS.
Year after year I would watch this commercial and get the goosebumps. I couldn’t wait until I was a real nurse. I admired the nurse’s gentleness with the little girl, how much he cared for her, and the relationship the nurse shared with his patient. You guys are probably like OK Katie, great commercial, but these people are just actors, this guy is just acting like a good nurse. WRONG. This is a real nurse and a real patient. My heart, be still! In this 30 second commercial, you get a little glimpse into what it’s like for a pediatric oncology nurse. A tough and, most likely, emotionally tolling field of nursing.
But this year I watched the commercial through a new set of eyes: as the patient.
Technically I am not a little girl. Do I sometimes act like one? Sure. And no, my nurses did not sing a song to me as they pushed my chemo through my port. But the thing is, I’m sure that if I asked them to sing a song with me, they would have.
The nurse says “I know it’s not your favorite, but it’s time for your medicine.” Hell nah is chemo anyone’s favorite. Although it kills cancer, it takes a lot away from you as a person. Your hair, for starters. But this nurse turned it into something that didn’t have to be so bad for that little girl. And I can relate to that. I’ve already written about the nurses I’ve had throughout this whole process. From the nurse that called me every single day to tell me what hormone shots to give myself when I was having my eggs frozen, to the peri-operative nurses who gave me hugs the day I got my port placed, to my homegirl Judy, and every other nurse I met along the way. All of them made a really, really, shitty thing turn out to be kinda tolerable.
They got me through the really bad days and cheered me on through the really good days. They comforted me. They laughed with me. They put up with all of my ridiculousness. They cared for me. They healed me.
I feared that I would forget how to be a nurse. I once expressed that to Judy, and after she quizzed me on some drug names to tease me, she assured me that I would not forget how to be a nurse, and that in fact, I would only be a better one after all this was over. And even though I still fear that come September I’m going to either freeze or word-vomit the first time I have a patient, I know that she’s right. I can Google drug names and medical facts, but I can’t find the answer to how to be a compassionate and empathetic person on Wikipedia (can I Ask Jeeves, though?). I will never forget how my nurses made me feel throughout my treatment and I want to be able to make my patients feel that same way.
So this Nurse’s week, I not only thank my professors and instructors who taught me how to be a nurse through the eyes of a student, but I also thank the nurses who showed me how to be a nurse through the eyes of a patient. It’s something I wish I never had to see, but I’m going to use it to treat patients the way I wanted to be treated.
Wish all of the nurses you meet a happy Nurse’s Week because they deserve every ounce of appreciation ever. Now, enjoy those Cinnabons ya’llllllllll.
A compilation of some, but not all, of my favorite nurses.