Heart at work

It had been a long day, with endless lines of flu like illness. As a nurse I always anticipate the lines this time of year and try to focus on one patient at a time. And yet, that day, I was just glad the day was over. After work, I headed eagerly to the restaurant to meet my husband for a quiet dinner. We ordered our favorite meal on the menu and enjoyed a relaxing end to our day.

As we walked towards our car after dinner, I noticed the rain was engulfing everyone with splashes and puddles. In the corner of the parking lot, I noticed an older woman who appeared to have fallen in the rain. There were two people there lifting her off the ground, but at first glance it was apparent she had sustained many scrapes and bruises.

Without thinking, I just walked up to her and started evaluating her situation. I quickly learned she was an insulin dependent diabetic and had just had two total knee replacements. I asked her family’s permission to call 911 and stayed with her to monitor her vital signs until the emergency team arrived. When the paramedics did arrive, she grabbed my hand and thanked me for staying with her. With a tear in her eye, she smiled and waved goodbye as she was lifted on the stretcher. Now that I knew she was in good hands, I headed back home with my husband.

As we drove home, I realized we had not even exchanged our names. I thought about how only a few hours earlier I had been so happy to have made it through a long clinic day.

It strikes me that this is the difference between a job and career. Being a nurse gives me the joy of knowing that my job is about helping others – regardless of the setting I am in. Whether I am on or off the clock, nursing allows me to make a difference in the lives of others – one person at a time!