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Appreciating Our Nurses

Amy Sales
Amy Sales, MSW, LCSW-C

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.

5 thoughts on “Appreciating Our Nurses”

  1. Although it seems that we hear more about patient abuses by nurses and other help staff, it is always good to know that there are great angels out there who truly help those that they serve and sometimes go beyond the call of duty. Hear, Hear to Nurse Appreciation Week!

  2. I truly love being an oncology nurse. I can't imagine having done anything else for past 30+ years of my working life. I've meet the nicest and most appreciative group of people and have learned the greatest of life's lessons! It seems to me oncology nurses, in particular, are warm- hearted individuals who are also level headed, smart and highly motivated. They "get it". The patients are empowered when we show we expect them to activley participate in their care and see how much we will do to help them have the best experience we can possibly provide. The oncology staff is among the best in terms of being smart, intellectually curious, motivated, energetic, collaborative and just plain nice people than any other discipline I know. There's lots of art as well as science in what we do. Happy Nurses Day!

  3. Elizabeth Hopkins

    The nurses at the Kimmel Center at Hopkins were not only fantatic nurses but among the most incredible people that I have ever met! I will never have words adequate to thank them for their extraordinary level of care as professionals and true caring as people during my journey through cancer treatment. I think it takes someone really special to work in oncology and I salute each and every nurse who has the courage and compassion to choose that path.

  4. Holly Battaglia

    Many that work with me can relate to this often when I tell people what area I work in I get......"oh you must be a special person, that must be so difficult." I find the patient population that we care for is one of the easiest for which to care. They are one of the most compliant and motivated groups of patients and want to do anything and everything in their power to get better! Many of our patients are facing life threatening illnesses. The manner in which they handle the adversity with which they have been handed continues to amaze me on every shift I work. They really help to put into perspective what is truly important in this life on earth. They also make you realize how quickly life as you know it can be taken away from you. It is easy to want to help this motivated group of patients, but I hope they realize just how much they give us in return. We have been given the "reality check" we all need from time to time through their struggles. In addition to that we have been given the opportunity to be a small part in someone's time here on this earth and I feel blessed that I can make a difference in how ever short or long that time may be!

  5. Amy, Thank you for this piece. You hit the "nail on the head"....and I couldn't agree more with your comments.

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