Last spring, my sponsor Paula (the Sheryl Sandberg Lean In kind of sponsor, not the AA kind) asked me to write a piece about partnership for a nursing newsletter at our hospital. The request was flattering, but the actual task, felt overwhelming.
As a nurse, I do plenty of writing. I write a lot in charts, a little on patient whiteboards, and mostly on a crumpled piece of paper (with a multicolored pen… yes they still make those; no you can’t borrow it) stuffed into my scrub pocket and referred to as my “brain.” I write a lot about what I do as nurse. I write nothing about how I feel as a nurse, because, I’m a nurse, and we don’t really do that. It’s easy to write the story of our day on our brain. It’s much tougher to write the stories of our vocation from our heart. It’s hard. There are a lot of reasons why it’s hard, (we’ll get to that at some point I’m sure) but, nonetheless, it’s hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it, and I wouldn’t have been given an opportunity. So, I reflected, I procrastinated, I panicked, and I wrote…
Partnership is Connection:
As humans we seek connection. We thrive in the presence of contact, kinship and warmth. Nurses provide an intimate setting for this desired connection within the privileged presence of our sacred work. Every day, our patients and their families open their lives and their hearts to us with a sense of trust that seems to develop easily, and often times almost instantly. This trust allows us to witness, and often share in deep, raw, and honest emotions that unite us in our shared human experience. This rich human connection gives profound meaning and divine purpose to our work. It allows us to be a healing presence for our patients and their loved ones. When we render that healing presence, we give our patients permission to be vulnerable. That space of freed vulnerability becomes the foundation for developing meaningful partnerships that can transform our patient’s wellbeing. We nurture connection and give it the potential to grow and thrive through our daily practice. We hold our patient’s hand. We teach them in a way that empowers. We listen to their stories. We shape our practice around our keen observations. We connect. Connection is at the heart of nursing, and nursing is at the heart of healthcare. There is great honor in our work. These are the stories of connection… the stories of shared, human experience.
When I finished, I felt a little vulnerable (my least favorite of the feelings) and a lot awesome. It felt good to match words to feels. I wanted more awesome feels, so I wrote more, and now we’re here, where I share the writing… and the feels.
I am going to use this space to share stories about my life as a nurse… and as a human, because, well, I’m both… and I have feelings and things to say about both. It won’t be perfect, but neither am I despite a lot of time, effort, alphabetizing and organizing. It will be hard, and sad, and funny, and gross just like life. I hope it is all worth reading, because, for me, it has all been worth doing.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing –Benjamin Franklin