No bubble wrap from us for Nurses Week! (Cause, yeah, that happened). Instead, we offered you a choice of gift cards that are actually useful… and picked 29 lucky winners!
We weren’t the only ones handing out gifts, though. This is going to sound super sappy, but it’s true.
When you nominated your favorite nurse and explained what made them so special, you were giving them something much better than a gift card. You made them feel seen and cared for, and that’s the best feeling there is — especially when you work in a profession that is overlooked all too often.
|Did you miss out on our Nurses Week gifts? Take part in our nurse photo contest instead and win $25!|
And when you nominated yourself, telling us about your work and what you’re most proud of, that was a gift too. To yourself but also to us, because we love hearing about you. So in appreciation, we want to share some of the things we learned from you.
1/ Nursing is a profession of almost infinite strands. Everyone finds their place eventually!
We know a lot of nurses are struggling in bedside nursing and hospital settings, especially when they’re only just setting out. To some extent that’s normal, but it can also be an incentive to keep exploring what is possible until you find the niche that feels just right for you.
For Latisha Briggs, that’s home health: “Of all my years in the healthcare field this position has by far been the best and most rewarding one. I absolutely love taking care of people in their homes so they can remain there.”
If you fear you are losing touch with what nursing should be all about on your hospital rounds, the individual care of home health might be the answer, pediatric home health nurse Darla Gene agreed: “I love my patient and the family! I love watching him progress and hit milestones. Everyday is an adventure. The 1 on 1 is the best and allows me to really know my patient and when he is outside of his baseline.”
For Naomi Clark, it’s hospice nursing: “I love educating providers, patients, families and others in the community and debunking misconceptions about hospice, letting people know all the good hospice care can bring.” And for Tiffany Ann, it’s working in mental health and rehab that has proven uniquely rewarding: “Helping people believe in themselves, and watching them begin to want to fight for their life is amazing… I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
For yet others among you, it will always be nurse education. Gigi Lynne left the bedside to “help mold future nurses” — and it turned out to be a blessing. “When the light bulb clicks and they understand what they’re doing and what they know, it’s an amazing feeling.” Deborah Toddes articulated the golden standard: “I hope to role model grace, patience, and humility as well as excellence in knowledge and skill”.
2/ It’s all in the family: Nursing inspires across generations
We love nurse couples, so we were delighted to pick two of them as winners and send both partners a gift card. But what really struck us this year were the nurses who followed in their parents’ footsteps — or even their grandparents’!
Take Carolyn Marie Stillian and her mom Teresa Lampkins-Reeves, who nominated each other. “She’s the reason I became a nurse,” Carolyn wrote: “no one is more deserving.” Teresa was just as proud of Carolyn: “I love watching her learn and realize it’s a calling not a job!”
But three generations — that was a new one for us ! Brenda Ray Perry worked in the medical field for 37 years and nominated her daughter Sheila Mullis, a dedicated hospice RN who herself survived a battle with cancer. And Sheila in turn nominated her daughter, Jordyn Ellis, who “was thrown into the fire” when she graduated nursing school in 2020, working PCU during the worst of the Covid crisis.
3/ There is a special kind of pride in having come up the long way
We have asked this before: does working your way up through the nursing profession, from CNA to LPN to RN and BSN or NP, make for the best nurses?
We tend to think so. In this time of direct entry programs, we believe that nurses who made it up the hard way, like Megan Simon, have something special to offer; a personal experience and insight that can be hard to replicate in nursing school.
4/ Compassion isn’t just a cliché. In a challenging profession, it’s what fuels us and keeps us going
Look, we don’t need to be modern-day Florence Nightingales. You deserve solid wages for jobs well done — just because you’re nurses doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice yourselves.
But that wellspring of compassion that attracted us to nursing is something we can draw on, that can sustain us, once we’ve been doing this job for years or decades.
When a nurse like Kim Banks goes the extra mile to provide comfort and support, they don’t just make a difference to the lives of their patients; they find the kind of fulfillment we all need in our jobs. And they learn that it’s the small gestures that make the biggest difference:
Been a nurse for 38 years, the only thing I wanted to do since the age of 5. I’ve worked both ends of the spectrum and have 2 favorite memories from each.Kim Banks
An elderly woman decided she wanted to stop all meds/treatments and it wasn’t well received by her family. I was working a double shift (3-11, 11-7) had been checking in with her periodically through both, and before leaving that morning, I asked if there was anything else I could do for her, she said “Yes, a hug” I complied and let her know everything was going to be ok. I was off the next day, and when I did come back, I learned that she had died peacefully the night before.
In the pediatricians office where I work, I am the ADHD/Mental Health Care Coordinator. I had a 9y/o patient being cared for by his GM, and things were not going well, she was on the verge of giving up. I had some long and in depth conversations with her, and asked her to hold on for one month until I was able to get him in with our MH provider. My patient is now a young man attending college and holding down a job. He will be aging out of our practice soon, but will always have a place in my heart ❤️ and I in his Grandmother’s.
This is and always has been my passion….making a difference in people’s lives, no matter how small or large it may seem. I couldn’t have done anything else as a career.
5/ Having personally experienced the other side makes a real difference
Every nurse cares for their patients, obviously! We all strive at all times to empathize with what they might be feeling or fearing. But if you yourself have been the patient or someone close to you is, you do get to see things in a different light. You’ll be able to relate to things others might miss — and appreciate the good nurses even more.
Again, we don’t want to get too sentimental here… but to us, your comments really highlighted the immense value dedicated nurses bring to their patients’ lives. Your experiences embody the true spirit of nursing, and we were delighted to provide a little recognition for all that you do!