Throughout my life, I have worked with a lot of nurses. My first experience was when I was a kid and I volunteered as a candy striper. Like many kids who are deemed “smart,” I wanted to be the other kind of doctor when I grew up and, knowing that one needed to have volunteer work on their resume to get into med school, I started volunteering at the local hospital. Now, it didn’t occur to me until many, many years later1 that in all the time that I volunteered at that hospital2 I never once saw a doctor. I’m sure the doctors did their rounds earlier in the day and by the time the teenage volunteers were at the hospital for their after school shifts, the docs were long gone. So all that time I was working with the nurses3. And I learned what a truly exceptional profession nursing was. This was especially noticeable on the rare occasion when you’d get a bad nurse on your shift – it made you truly appreciate the compassion of the (vast majority) of great nurses!
When I went off to university, by totally fluke, I ended up with a work-study job in the School of Nursing. In order to get a work-study job, you had to be on student loans. The student loans office screwed up my paperwork4 which meant that they wouldn’t process my work-study application until they had my student loans sorted out, by which time almost all the work-study positions had been filled. One of the very few unfilled positions was a re-posted position as a research assistant in the School of Nursing, which I got. So again, I worked with nurses. In fact, I liked that job so much that I held for three years, including two summers, and I even took a nursing course5 during that time. And working with this group reinforced what I’d learned through my volunteer work – nursing is a critical profession in our health care system and nurses are, on the whole, a dedicated, intelligent and compassionate group of people.
In my current job, my office is located in a health unit with a fantastic group of nurses. To see the great work being done by nurses every day is inspiring and to hear about the passion they have for their work – and the compassion they have for their patients – makes me proud to be associated with them, even if only tangentially.
So Happy Nursing Week to all the wonderful nurses out there!
- i.e., right now [↩]
- which was 2 years? 3 years? maybe 4? [↩]
- as it turned out, I really enjoyed – and gained a lot – from working with those patients and it didn’t matter that I didn’t interact with any docs [↩]
- the first, but certainly not the last, time my student loan papers would be screwed up. Funny how they can find 16 different ways to screw up your paperwork that delay you getting your student loan money, but they never once screwed up the paperwork in such a way that they accidentally pay off all your loans for you. [↩]
- Nursing and Health Care Leadership & Management – which was a great course, actually *and* which I got to take for free as I received a bursary to cover the tuition fees for it [↩]