I read an article about a 10-year old boy who took all the money he had saved to purchase a Super Bowl ring from a retired NFL player. Imagine his delight to own such a rare commodity . I know grown men who would give up a limb for a trophy such as this . The boy learned that the ring had been sold to pay for medical expenses the ex-NFL player had accrued for his life-threatening illness. In response to this news, the boy gave the ring back and wanted not a cent of his money returned.
This story is touching, and it moved me. As we approach Nurse Appreciation Week, I am reminded every day of the acts of kindness by our “silent angels,” who are our nursing staff. On a regular basis, our nurses go beyond their scope in delivering care and support that is just as meaningful as the returned super bowl ring.
We work in an environment where, at times, our patients and families struggle to find hope, comfort and the strength to move forward. Time and time again I am touched by the simple, yet profound acts of kindness that nurses bestow on their patients helping them to propel forward—even under the worst of circumstances.
Despite working in a fast-paced setting where it is difficult to find time to break for a meal, these silent angels MAKE the time to sit with their patients who are in desperate need of support and deal with fear, anxiety, pain and hopelessness. I see these nurses holding patients’ hands, offering hugs of comfort and listening to their scared voices in need of compassion.
There are often cheers, smiles and victory dances exhibited by these group of special nurses as they learn, along with their patients and families, when large and small victories have been made. Whether it’s a day of high blood counts, remission, or a patient who doesn’t require a wheel chair any longer to enter the building. I have watched our nurses share in the success of their patients high moments and cry with them during the lows. No amount of money can buy this type of professional. This is genuine, raw, emotion that comes from the heart, and this what allows our patients and families to know that they are not alone along their journey.
So today, I tip my hat to all of you who work well past your scheduled hours; who think that your daily acts of kindness go unnoticed; who throw birthday parties for patients who can’t celebrate outside of this building; who shave an unshaven man and restore his dignity; who sit and feed a patient who can’t feed themselves and ask them about their “life story” in the process; who sit in a patient’s room to “listen” despite an overbooked day; who cries behind the staff station because you feel disappointed when treatment isn’t working; and to the countless moments you give to those in need.
Every encounter, no matter how small, has a powerful impact on our patients and families, and they will remember your kind gestures for a lifetime.