Nurses Day & Teacher Appreciation Week

As far back as I can remember, Nurse’s Day was always May 6th.  As a nurse, I worked at some acclaimed medical institutions, including the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I also worked at hospitals in Buffalo, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

During my time in nursing, I worked in many positions – first as an aide at a nursing home, then as an intern at the chronic care facility, then as an RN/BSN in a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,  then as a Child Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, and then as a Nationally Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) and nursing instructor. Nurses deserve recognition. They are some of the hardest working people I’ve known.

During my days as a hospital nurse, in the intensive care unit for babies, I worked nights, mostly.  They were 12-hour shifts and some were longer than others. I was trained to go to high-risk deliveries and even for transport at the first hospital in which I worked. I disliked being put in charge – the units were large, 45-55 intensive care beds. with deliveries, discharges, and sometimes emergencies constantly going on. But, I wasn’t a bad charge nurse as evidenced by how often they put me in the role. I just didn’t like it.

Today, while I am grateful I am not a practicing nurse, I am equally as grateful that there are those who continue to practice the art and science of nursing. Eventually, I realized my heart was in teaching, not in nursing.  And, ironically, I noticed this when I was teaching nursing!

My teaching eventually morphed into the real thing as volunteered to run student groups, substitute teach, and lead an after school garden club at our sons’ school.  Teachers are another hard working group of professionals. They also take a lot of hard knocks. But, I’ve been proud to be associated with both of these groups in my life.

Right now,  both of these professional groups – nurses and teachers – are working harder than they ever have had to in recent memory. Neither is an easy job on any given day. But, this spring both professions find themselves in uncharted territory. The nurses are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals are trying to treat patients as well as acting to prevent their own staff from becoming ill.  I never thought I’d hear lay people talk of donning and doffing masks – ever – in the course of a normal conversation. Schools are trying to support both students and teachers in the same supervisory way – still providing lessons and the chance to learn – but utilizing skills and methods that are (or, were) foreign to most before March 15th of this year.

As we celebrate our nurses and teachers this week – the first week in May – I hope we all remember the scrifices they are making for us. Working nights, working in an environment of high contagion, planning and implementing lessons online, and staying in touch with students are only some of the tasks that their jobs have required of them recently.

I’ve been told I am a loyal employee and person. In general, I think that is very true. I know I am defensive when someone – anyone – disparges the nursing and teaching professions. Maybe, it is because I consider myself part of each of these hard working and caring groups.

If you belong to either of them, I want thank you for what you do for I do understand what it is what you do is demanding and draining but oh, so, rewarding! You are appreciated!

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