Another Nurses Week has made its way to us. It's amazing how fast time goes by as we get older. Nurses Week this year is a little different that previous years for me. My mom was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer 2 months ago. She tried chemo but unfortunately it didn't work, so 2 weeks ago we placed her on hospice and I moved in with her so she could stay at home and die surrounded by her family and friends.
What has struck me about this entire experience is the importance of nursing throughout the entire process. When my mom was a patient in the hospital where I work on the weekends, I was in awe by the way nurses of all ages and experience delivered care. I always thought our hospital delivered great care, but until I saw it in action with one of my own family members, I have a renewed appreciation for the nurses at the facility.
My mom has quite a few friends who are retired nurses. They have stepped up to the plate to care for her, and to give me and the rest of our family a break when we need it. The care they deliver is exceptional. They know the importance of ""just being"" with her, when to just hold her hand, when to medicate her, and when to talk her through episodes of respiratory distress. Obviously the art of nursing doesn't stop when you retire.
The hospice nurses are some of the most gifted nurses I have ever seen. They have so much to teach the rest of us on managing symptoms of end of life and have no problem with getting what they need for their patients from physicians.
My mom is pain-free and comfortable right now due to all of your efforts. I know she will experience a ""good death"" based on her terms.
So for all you nurses out there, I would like to say thank you for your dedication to the profession and your ability to make a difference in a person's life. You have certainly made a difference in mine and my mom's. Happy Nurses's Week!
By Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC