Nurses’ Week is upon us, and this year, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, it seems especially fitting to celebrate nurses, those quiet heroes who walk among us. For in every hospital in Boston, it was a nurse who worked feverishly to stop the bleeding, start the intravenous lines, and cover the gaping wounds. And in the midst of that horror, it was a nurse who leaned in and gently whispered, You’ll be okay. Hold my hand.
That degree of commitment to patients happens not just during overwhelming newsworthy tragedies, but in every hospital every minute of the day. For whose life hasn’t been touched by a nurse? It is a nurse who will be with us in those moments of crisis, a nurse who will guide us through the confusing maze of modern healthcare. It is invariably a nurse who will remember to ask your name as she struggles to save your life. It is a nurse who will call a code, comfort a family, and sit with a patient who has no one to visit. It is a nurse who will cradle a dying baby, soothe a mother’s worries, and tend to a child’s cuts and bruises. It is a nurse anesthetist who will put us to sleep for surgery, an OR nurse who will watch over us in the OR, and a PACU nurse who will gently wake us up. It is a nurse practitioner who will find the cause of that lingering cough, an ER nurse who will resuscitate your loved one, and a clinic nurse who will teach you how to manage your diabetes. It is a nurse administrator who will see that your hospital runs smoothly, a risk management nurse who will explain the legal labyrinth to you, and a nurse epidemiologist who will track the source of your infection. And at the end of your days, it is a hospice nurse who will remember that you still matter. It is now and always a nurse who will stay by your side, and comfort you when you need it most.
Today, nurse’s specialties are as varied as the populations they serve, and regardless of their area of expertise, at the end of the day, nurses are indeed an impressive group. It is no surprise then that nurses are the group who most frequently top the most respected list in Gallup’s annual poll on honesty and ethical standards.
And this week, as I stand with them, these women and men who change the world every minute of every day, my breath will surely catch in my throat, for I am one of them.
I am a nurse.
Originally published in the Huffington Post.