I knew Johnson and Johnson had a “Discover Nursing” campaign, I just didn’t know how active it still was.
Until I saw a commercial on CNN. About nursing. About becoming a nurse. I revisited the “Discover Nursing” website and was surprised to see an amazingly comprehensive, informative nursing site.
This company means business.
I also found free stuff! Free posters and brochures on becoming a nurse, in English and Spanish. I ordered some to put up in the ER and some brochures for the waiting room. I intend to carry some with me and hand them out whenever I can.
Check out the website, get some posters and brochures and be a part of recruiting our future colleagues.
Disclosure: Johnson and Johnson has graciously paid my registration for this month’s BlogHer08 convention in San Francisco. This post (unsolicited, btw) is my way of thanking them and hopefully giving back a small part of what they have given to nursing in general.
And today, me in particular.
Because sometimes I need to be reminded why I am still a nurse.
It used to be easier, dealing with death.
Oh, occasionally a particularly devastating case would get to me, but I worked codes with professional detachment and took care of the surviving family members with compassion and professionalism.
It used to be easy.
It’s not so easy anymore.
I knew you for a little over an hour, and the minute I saw you I knew you were dying. War had been raging inside your body for over three years; you met every battle with determination.
The enemy was pernicious. Malevolent. This particular enemy always is. Silent until its damage is irreparable, it was now ready to end its rampage.
I knew it. And so did you. In the few words we exchanged, you told me you were ready to “turn the page”; you were so exhausted.
Bone weary. Exhaustion so deep that you didn’t have the energy to even want to fight anymore.
I gave you my hand. You gave it a squeeze.
Peace was at hand.
Twenty minutes later you were gone.
As I watched your monitor slowly dissolve into that undulating line of asystole, my throat tightened and my eyes burned. I made sure your family members were comfortable and I went to the nurses station to do the required paperwork. That infernal, damned paperwork.
You had just died, but God forbid that I do anything but the required paperwork. It was the most important aspect of the night.
Not the fact that I was ready to cry. I made it to the bathroom, but that made it worse so I swallowed hard, came back out and talked to your doctor, the coroner and the donor network, finished your chart and sent you to our “refrigeration unit”. That’s what the transplant coordinator called it. Guess “morgue” is no longer PC.
I didn’t even know you.
But two hours later I was crying for you on my way home from work.
Why is dealing with death becoming so much harder? As a young nurse, it was what I did.
It was also something that happened to other people.
Is it my age that makes me more aware of my own mortality, making death that much harder to deal with?
Is it that I have now buried my parents-in-law, my father, three grandparents, an uncle, an aunt and two brothers-in-law, the last four within the last 18 months?
Is it because I know the feeling of the shock that sets in immediately following the split second of disbelief or the depth of the sadness that precedes the seemingly endless, painful ache?
I’m not sure what it is, but the more I experience death, the more it affects me and the harder it is to control my emotions.
I wondered if maybe it was time for me to get out of this line of nursing, that maybe I had lost the ability to detach enough to remain the impartial professional.
Then I realized, after all these years I should be thankful that I can still feel for my patients and grieve their loss.
When I stop feeling for my patients, that would be the time I would need to explore another avenue of nursing.
As for now, I’ll stay right where I am.