Last week was the end of the school term and our local school invited parents in for the afternoon to look at their child’s work. It’s always lovely to see what my daughter has been up to and she takes great pride in showing me every page however this term I have to admit to having a little tear as I turned the page and saw this lovely drawing:
Underneath it was written “It’s my hope and dream to become a nurse like my Mummy” To say that I was overwhelmed was an understatement and I found myself searching the depths of my handbag to find a tissue. My daughter was very proud of this picture, which is in fact her future self taking care of a lady with a broken leg – she also has no feet but that is only because it’s tricky to draw feet when someone is lying down and not due to a medical condition!
Over the week I had some time to reflect on this picture and I started to think, that although humbled by my daughters wish to do what I do would I really ever advise her to become a nurse?
Almost daily there is news of not only healthcare but nursing being in turmoil and nurses struggle on through the toughest of times. In my own career I no longer keep count of the times that I have cried or returned home from a shift to exhausted even to eat, fallen into bed only to wake up and return to do it all the very next day. There have been times that I have felt alone and times when I have felt despondent with nursing. And to top it all the pay that a nurse receives will never make any of us rich …. Yet I feel I am one of the wealthiest and luckiest people I know .. due to nursing!
Only as I have gone through my career have I actually realised how diverse nursing is, as a nurse there are many opportunities and different paths to choose. In addition to this every day is, in itself, diverse, I have never had two days the same when nursing. . On my last clinical shift, at the weekend, I was helping an elderly lady to eat her lunch. She really didn’t want to eat anything at all so I said “How about having pudding first?” and she looked at me like the cat that got the cream with eyes full of mischief. “Oooh” she said “We were never allowed to do that at school!” So almost conspiratorially we started the meal with sticky toffee pudding and custard. I asked her if she liked school dinners and she told me how awful they were but they had to eat them or sit there until they had. I asked her if she liked school dinner puddings at least and she said that “she didn’t much care for them either!” We then had a wonderful conversation all about semolina, tapioca and rice pudding! There is no doubt that I can recall hundreds (and have forgotten hundreds more) of stories like this, where a small and seemingly insignificant human connection can make a difference. The chances are if I had not suggested pudding first this frail lady would have missed a meal – as it was she ate everything. Do I want my daughter to be able to make a difference to people lives like this?
Nursing really is in my soul , those of you who are nurses reading this will know how that feels. Nursing makes me laugh and cry and through the tough times I hold on to the good times as for every negative there are 20 positives. Life isn’t perfect and whatever my daughter does my only hope and dream is that she is as wealthy in spirit as I am nursing.
However having said all of that I believe I have neglected to mention that my daughter is only 8 years old and this week wants to be Princess Anna from Frozen (#LetItGo !) when she grows up … which doesn’t sound like a bad career move to me