As a full-time nursing student and a mother of two young daughters, I am unable to work the front-lines this fall. For my story, I wanted to share what makes me a nurse during this pandemic outside of the hospital setting.
My neighbor and friend, Rafaelle is 75 years old and has been on and off chemotherapy for several years. For all intents and purposes, she has been isolated due to her immuno-compromised state since before the pandemic began. She is a prolific artist, a wise, strong and creative woman. Part of what makes me a nurse right now, is how I care for her and my community by performing everyday acts.
How I shop for someone who can’t leave their house, or bring them carefully prepared food while taking all precautions for their safety. How I check-in on isolated members of my coop via text message to ask about their day. How I offer to take my friend’s blood pressure or listen to her lungs if she can’t reach her clinic.
Part of how I am a nurse, is manning the phones once a week at the suicide hotline to speak to people who are suffering from invisible wounds caused by COVID-19. Those wounds are and will be incredibly hard to treat in the days and months to come.
Human interactions are what make me a nurse today despite the fact that I don’t have the availability to work in the hospital setting. Nursing is a way of life. Actions that we perform almost unconciously for the betterment of our community and the healing of its members. These small actions need not be recognized to have value. But for the year of the nurse midwife maybe we should all accept that they be celebrated.