I was not happy this morning when I realized I missed National Nurses Day yesterday. I'm not big into these national days that recognize everything from hats to kazoos, but I have a favorite nurse, so I feel bad I missed one of these celebrations I could have participated in.
Then this afternoon I found redemption. Not only was yesterday National Nurses' Day, but this is actually National Nurses' WEEK! Lucky me. So here goes.
Many years ago when I was the director of an Eckerd Wilderness Camp in eastern North Carolina, I had to hire a nurse. It was a hard position to fill because it didn't pay the kind of money a nurse could make elsewhere, and the setting was a little less medical than most experienced nurses were used to. I mean how many nurses risk tripping over a copperhead snake on the way to check on a patient?
Donna was the first nurse I interviewed. We took a walk around the property, which I was sure would scare her off before the interview went too far. Not this nurse. She actually acted quite at home in the outdoor environment. Then I sat her down and explained that there were many licensing and contract issues around camp medical practices, and that I didn't know all of them. In fact, I didn't know many of them. And I was looking for a nurse who could make sure I never had to.
I ended up hiring her. She ended up making sure I never had to know any more than I already knew about camp medicine. More than that, though, she showed me there are nurses out there who know how to apply tough love when necessary, and when it is more appropriate, just plain old fashioned love. She was one of the first ones in the office in the morning, so I often found myself drinking my first cup of coffee while sharing stories about camp and life in general in her office. Many mornings she was my source of sanity.
Camp nurses are no different than many other nurses; they are too often under-appreciated. That was never an issue with Nurse Donna. In fact, she was one of the loudest voices we had when it came to making sure the rest of the staff received recognition for their efforts.
She was then, is now, and forever will be "my favorite nurse."
Happy Nurses' Day Nurse! Forever grateful for you.