The Pioneer of Modern Nursing

The Pioneer of Modern Nursing

I made the mistake of heading into the Hallmark store in my office complex yesterday. What part of me thought that taking that little detour on my lunch break during this time of year was a good idea? Yeah, silly me.

Lucky for me, every year Mother’s Day happens to be only a “day” in the midst of another important week of the year. Well, at least for those that happen to be “tight” with Florence Nightingale, anyway.

Yes, every year Nurse’s Week is celebrated in the US from May 6th to May 12th. Why those days specifically? Well, it’s because May 12th is the actual birthday of the “Pioneer of Modern Nursing.” And May 12th is officially known as International Nurses Day.

So yeah, having a whole week “dedicated” to my profession … it certainly takes the focus of the one day of the year that practically the whole nation celebrates the one thing in the world that has eluded me the most. The one day that celebrates the biggest disappointment I’ve encountered thus far in my life.

But going back to the whole Nurse’s Week thingy … I have to say that I find it pretty humerous that I ended up in the profession I did … and “liking” it.

Click on image to read the pledge and Detroit's history in it ...

Click on image to read the pledge and Detroit's history in it ...

First of all, there are waaaay too many Filipinos in this profession. And in my youth, I was constantly trying to break out of the stereotypes that follow my culture. But ultimately it was the whole “respect your elders” part of my culture that had me ending up pursing a career in nursing. In other words, rather than spend my undergrad years “pondering” what I wanted to do in life while my parents (most graciously) funded my university education … the suggestion was made by many-a-relative that nursing would provide me a lucrative* career while I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. Lucky (or unlucky, depending how it’s looked at) for me, while I still don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life (as motherhood obviously hasn’t worked out) … at least there are enough “avenues” in the profession of Nursing that I’ve been able to dabble in other areas other than bedside nursing.

I do have to add this though … no matter where I’ve worked (in an office setting or at the bedside), I am constantly being asked when I’ll be bringing in pancit or lumpia to any potluck. Totally sucks for my co-workers who have the perception that all Filipinos are able to cook. Hah!

And speaking of different “avenues” of Nursing … I have to point out that this is probably the reason I do “like” the profession I’m in. Because believe me, in this modern day and age of health care … burnout in the “bedside” aspect of Nursing is pretty darn high. That’s because despite the advances in medical care, people that are admitted to the hospital are much much more “sicker” than they were in the past. And despite the higher acuity in patient care needs, the nurse-to-patient ratio has not improved in years. In fact, in many parts of the nation, the number of patients assigned to one nurse has exponentially increased; leaving Nurses at the bedside with more to do with less resources.

My Nursing School's reknown "Nightingale Award" (click on image)

My Nursing School's reknown "Nightingale Award" (click on image)

This is why I am glad I’m no longer doing “direct patient care.” This simply means that I’m not physically reaching out and touching a person. (Not to say that I’m not “caring” for them, though.) Rather the aspect of Nursing I’m part of is Case Management. So what’s the role of an RN Case Manager? Well, in a basic explanation, a Case Manager assists in coordinating the care of a clinically complex person in order to maximize this person’s ability to care for themselves.

Confusing, right? Well, let’s just say that instead of physically caring for a patient while he/she — I don’t know — is “tossing their cookies” … I’m the Nurse that, once the acute illness “settles down,” is helping to make sure that these patients follow up appropriately with their physicians or other health care professionals in order to prevent a recurrence or complication of their condition. And I’m the same Nurse that spends MORE time educating a patient and/or family member about their disease or condition so they can understand their physician’s plan of care and the various options they may have available to them.

Florence "The Lady With The Lamp" Nightingale

"The Lady With The Lamp"

Yeah, I bet you didn’t know that there were many aspects of Nursing as a profession. Just like I’m sure that you may forget about other jobs that Nurses do that don’t necessarily involve working in a hospital, nursing home or Doctor’s office. Yes. Nursing is everywhere. Like in the home setting. Or in the community. Or even at your own workplace.

Heck, you might even work directly with a Nurse. Or even an “ex-Nurse.”** Because believe me, we’re everywhere.

So with that said … I must remind everyone out there to wish all the Nurses you know a “Happy Nurses Week” over the next seven days. Because despite what it feels like to most Infertiles out there … this week isn’t all about being a Mom. Sometimes it’s all about going with the “Flo” … Florence Nightingale, that is.

Yeah. I’m that cheesy.

On an even sillier note … I must share this picture with you to show how “smart” my kitty cat can be. Notice how she’s perched on a pillow? Well … as she knows she’s not allowed on our new sofa, she’s found a way to get around it … by being on top of a pillow instead of directly on the sofa. How cute can she be?!

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* “Lucrative” as in “there are always going to jobs available in nursing” … not “lucrative” as in financially “stable.”

** Although I always say, “Once a Nurse, always a Nurse.”