People are People Wherever You Go.

I haven’t had the chance to just sit and write or perhaps have not allowed myself to sit and write. I can’t let time slip by and lose all those bright and inspiring reflections I have had over the last months and perhaps years.

How time has flown and life has changed. Taking on new roles and responsibilities has been a constant happening in my life and the road ahead of me seems to look about the same. Since starting my nursing career there has been constant learning and the feelings of incompetence daily. It’s been a battle jumping into a career where people depend on your expertise and knowledge but you yourself feel like you are still learning so much. It leaves you feeling uncomfortable but also desiring to strengthen your knowledge base to better help people. There have been many times where I’ve wanted to quite and choose a different path. My Dad reminded me when I was in a moment of self-doubt and failure that true success is going from one failure to the next without losing enthusiasm. How hard it is to embrace failure and not lose enthusiasm for what’s next to come. I need to carry this attitude with me always since life will always have doses of failure along the road. If we close off our minds and let those thoughts seep in we will never reach our goals or see our true potential flourish. As much as nursing has had moments of failure and days where I have felt absolutely overwhelmed, exhausted and worn out, it also has been filled of incredibly joyful moments. Not only have I had the privilege to comfort those in some of their most painful and difficult moments but I also have learned so much through many of the patients I have cared for. I am always reminded of how much worse off so many people are in our city and that I have little to complain about. Working as a nurse has taught me a tremendous amount about people and the common thread of our humanity. We all have fears and insecurities as well as the inherent desire to do good in our world and to love others. Even when life is the darkest it has ever been, light can be found- with an incredible amount of hope, the haze and fog will lift! Patients and families with heavy burdens and facing enormous mountains to climb somehow find a small glimmer of hope and overcome it, which is incredible to see. A beautiful example of hope was a family who in the span of a year experienced loss that if I were to repeat it you would not even believe that all this could happen. For one, this mother found out she was pregnant with her fifth child but that her child was Trisomy 21. The ultrasound tech told her that 90% of parents abort when they find out their child has Down Syndrome. But this mother, she thought to herself, “I want to be that 10%!” And she was, she brought her “little peanut” into the world. But with much confliction, she felt alone in her decision and as she spent time in the NICU, her recently separated husband and herself battled whether they should put her up for adoption. In those next days as they cared and cuddled their baby something changed within them. This tiny baby renewed their hope, softened their hearts and gave them hope. I cannot fully express this beautiful experience and transformation in words but I felt privileged to be able to be a part of it.

The beauty I have seen since working as a nurse inspires me to continue to meet people where they’re at, hold no judgments and to truly listen to their needs. People are people wherever you go; if I work in a hospital in Calgary, a clinic in rural Nepal or Africa our human needs and longings are all the same. We desire to be seen as a “person,” not an “illness” or a “diagnosis.” We want to feel important and special and not just brushed by as another number or more work to “deal with.” What gets lost often in this profession is the purpose and reason we do what we do. We forget that we are trying to care for the patient, not our own “ego”, our “pride” or our satisfaction of knowing we did a good job. It is terribly easy to get into the motions of doing tasks and procedures that we forget that it is all for the patient’s well-being. It becomes more about “us” then about the patient and this terrifies me. The reason I went into this career was sparked by the intense and stark needs of the poor while travelling overseas and the power that healing touch has for people. It is a privilege to care for those who are vulnerable, sick, suffering and terribly afraid and this cannot be forgotten.

I have learned more than I ever imagined in this profession so far; The humility to accept my failures and weaknesses, the enthusiasm and courage to get up when I’ve fallen (after the hundredth time), the patience to listen and understand people from all walks of life, and much more. Most importantly though, my eyes have been opened to how we all desire to feel special and loved and that no matter how tough we look on the outside there is always that need of affirmative love and compassionate touch that goes a long way.

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