As a child I always enjoyed helping others as much as I could, even more so than myself sometimes. My mother noticed this trait from a young age and always encouraged me to pursue nursing. During high school I was required to complete community service hours over the summer. My mother thought this would be a great opportunity for me to experience the health care field so I volunteered at a nursing home and absolutely loved every minute of it. She was also in the health care field and pursued nursing at one point. While she was unable to complete her nursing degree, I followed her recommendations and my own beliefs to begin my career in nursing.
The nursing field is chaotic right now, between Covid-19, limited resources, and staffing issues across the country there is a lot to be worried about. However, with the spotlight on us during this pandemic I also have hope that things will improve. I look forward to a day when nurses in all fields get increases in pay and benefits, while improving patient to nurse ratios. Furthermore, I have already noticed a change regarding pay during this delta variant wave of infections, staff nurses are being compensated as much higher rates then over the past two years. I have also noticed a push for health care systems to try retaining their staff they have instead of relying so much on travel nurses. This would help with consistency in care planning as well as experience and expertise to continue mentoring novice nurses.
People are finally starting to realize the mental battle nurses struggle with daily. Many of us work twelve hours shifts, leaving about four hours or less everyday after sleeping to tend to our personal lives. It can be a struggle mentally and physically caring and advocating for our patients day in and day out. Meanwhile, at the end of the day you try to leave it all at the door, go home and take care of your family and life. This schedule can quickly lead to burnout, which unfortunately I have experienced many times over my six years of nursing. Hopefully with all the attention focused on the nursing field, I am optimistic that some good change can occur so we can give our patients the best attention and care they deserve.
During my work at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Atlanta I had the pleasure of meeting “Stoney”. I worked diligently with him and BJ to get a large list of supplements sorted through and restarted. Stoney had such a great personality and glow about him despite battling cancer with some tough symptoms. Even when feeling horrible Stoney smiled whenever you entered the room and was usually up for talking and having a good laugh. I was blessed to take care of him numerous times over the past year. While his health continued to decline, his wonderful personality only seemed to grow. At the end of his journey Stoney reached a point where many never get the pleasure of having; he welcomed the next life. While I’m sure there was fear, he did not show it. He kept his head up high, laughed with family and friends, and prayed for the Lord to take good care of him. Unfortunately, I have had countless end of life experiences with patients and while each one is different and sad, his was unique. While of course the experience felt sad and had its ups and downs, it was also moving to watch how Stoney had evolved. Furthermore, I have never seen so much support for someone; he usually had a family or friend at his bedside. I was honored to take care of such a great soul and will always remember him throughout my career and life.