More often than I care to admit, Tuesday night is Chipotle night. My daughter has swimming lessons right after school, and I need to get food into my two kids. Stat. As we pulled up to our neighborhood Chipotle last night, they had a sign on the door, advertising a BOGO deal for nurses. How awesome! I thought to myself. Nurse practitioners should get some love. This is a pretty good deal.
Which is great and all, but I got to thinking a little more… how often have I said thank you to nurse practitioners? I can probably think of a handful of times, I’m embarrassed to say, although I always pretend that I do it more often.
Well, all things considered, we don’t really see a whole bunch of nurse practitioners because we’re a relatively hearty bunch (knock on wood).
Overall, I would consider us pretty lucky in the nurse department. The nurse practitioners in our pediatrician’s office are always calm and sweet, and I feel as though they’re attentive and kind. I try to be forthright and brief as I know they have so many other faces to see, and I’d like to think they appreciate that. And I’d like to think that we appreciate them. But one nurse practitioner, in particular, stands out in a wonderful way.
She’s the nurse practitioner who helped to complete our family.
Leading up to my son’s birth, I had visions of having a doula with me in the delivery room. I wanted to have someone there who could help project manage everything. I needed to be busy birthing a baby. My husband needed to be busy taking care of me. And I wanted the doula to be able to oversee everything and help us sort through any issues that might arise, and I wanted her to be a strong advocate for us in the labor and delivery room.
Alas, things were not meant to be, and I couldn’t have a doula with me. And I have to tell you that, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter one lick.
The L&D nurse who helped deliver my son was a godsend. She was kind but firm. Attentive and respectful. She was the one I turned to when birthing got tough (I went med-free for this one), and with fear and anxiety in my voice, said I can’t do this. I can’t do it.
Unequivocally, she calmly and knowingly told me that yes, yes I could. And I believed her.
She helped our doctor bring my son into this world, and she helped to gingerly place him on my chest for our first skin-to-skin contact. She helped tend to me as I got prepared to leave for the postpartum wing. She’s the one who volunteered her lunch for me to eat because my son was born at 11:41 pm and all of the hospital restaurants were closed and I was famished from labor… and she gave me her sandwich.
This nurse practitioner was a blessing for us and our family… and I couldn’t even tell you her name.
Two and a half years later, I kick myself for not finding out her name. She was a delight who took care of us so delicately and tenderly, and she helped to complete our family. And still, two and a half years later, I’m not sure I could point her out in a crowd to even mutter a thank you.
But that feels like the plight of nurse practitioners, doesn’t it? To be in a thankless job. To agonize over a patient’s care and well-being and your own sanity and security. And to hopefully send them on their way, with a hope that you don’t have to see them again, but if they’re a good patient, maybe you do.
So with one nurse appreciation event coming up, I am inspired to say thank you to our nurse.
You were our caregiver and advocate. You were my rock and shepherd. You were the safe haven in the storm, and the strong sense of courage that I needed. You ushered me from being a mom of one to a mom of two, and in a way, I think you sensed that awesome responsibility and honor.
You played a very important role for our family. You and other nurse practitioners are the first people we see when we enter a doctor’s office or clinic or hospital. You have to be the first line of defense, the reassuring voice when so many are scared or excited or anxious.
Your hands must be steady and sure, your mind, quick and agile. There are no do-overs because oftentimes, these are matters of life and death. You have to muster the strength and fortitude to right the ship during emergencies.
As a nurse practitioner, you’re not allowed to have a bad day… although no one would blame you if you did. Your days are draining and exhausting, both physically and emotionally, and you have to shelve that to take care of someone else.
You are involved in some of the most intimate moments in people’s lives, people from all walks of life, and I wonder if that ever grows old. I would bet that there are some moments you wish never to relive, and others, a constant stream of repeats from the joy and happiness that you were a part of.
Very rarely do you hear the words thank you. Two incredibly small words that carry so much meaning.
Thank you for putting us first.
Thank you for being strong with us and for us.
Thank you for your kindness and compassion.
Thank you for your dedication and courage.
Thank you for the reassuring hand that said You can do this. You can do it. You knew I could because you had seen countless other moms do the same thing so experience told you that yes, yes I could, and your compassion told you that was what I needed to hear.
Thank you for being the guiding light in the rocky seas.
Thank you for fighting for our lives with us and for us.
And dear nurse practitioners, we don’t say it often enough… but we should. Thank you.
In case you needed help finding the words, please share this post with a nurse that needs to hear thank you.