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Why I am Proud to Be a Nurse

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A friend’s four-year old daughter is suffering from a very aggressive leukemia. In addition to chemotherapy, she underwent a bone marrow transplant this past November. Unfortunately, it’s a very difficult procedure, and hospital recovery is very lengthy.

This meant that the family had to spend the holidays in the hospital under strict isolation. The parents would send updates on a regular basis. On Christmas Day, this took the form of a blog which stated, “The staff at Stanford has been great, and I could see them sneaking in during the middle of the night and placing more gifts on Massy’s growing pile. They are truly amazing people and we are forever thankful.”

While moving, it also reminded me of an experience earlier in my career. I was the new Director of Nursing at a Children’s Hospital in Virginia. As it came time to prepare the holiday staffing schedule, something happened that amazed me. Usually, nurses request time off especially around holidays. But not here! The requests, particularly from the most senior nursing staff, were to work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on December 24. After the schedule was drawn up, the nurses all went set to planning together.

Each child was to receive a magnificent stocking overflowing with wonderful toys and gifts. The stockings were to be hung on the children’s bedposts after they went to sleep on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning as they awoke, one little boy called out: “He found me!” No wonder the nurses wanted to spend such a memorable night with their young patients. The joy these nurses felt caring for these special children on Christmas Day (particularly since Santa had found them in the hospital) was beyond heartwarming. Instances like these are among the many reasons I’m proud to be a nurse!

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