This week I hosted a reception for filmmaker Kathy Douglas, an RN producing a film about the roles of nurses. The energy generated by the 25 nurses at the event was very positive and as Kathy spoke to the group about her motivation for the film, it was hard not to feel inspired.
At the event were several friends and former nursing colleagues. As the crowd thinned, one of those colleagues, Lucy, with whom I had worked 25 years ago, shared with the remaining guests a story. The story was about me, when she was mentoring me in the CCU with a very challenging, very complex patient. He was the most critically ill patient in the unit at that time and so a 'good' patient to learn from. She told of the day that she was going to let me "fly on my own" and after we got report from the night shift, she said, "OK, he's all yours." Sensing my fear and nervousness, she said, "You'll be fine, go ahead." I turned and walked toward room 8, stopped after a few steps, turned back to her, and said, "But what if…" to which she said, "Go ahead." A few steps more and the same. A few steps more and when I turned back, she never said a word, but the look on her face said it all, "Get IN that room, NOW!" And in I went. And the rest, as they say, is history. She knew I'd be fine. And I was.
We all got a pretty good laugh out of that story. None of us, least of all me, could imagine that today I wouldn't have just breezed into that room, but it is 25 years later and I have a great deal of experience upon which to draw.
Thanks to Lucy for mentoring me all those years ago. And thanks to all those patients who allowed me to learn from them and grow as a nurse. What a difference 25 years makes!