When I was asked to write an article about inspirational stories from my experience, I decided to defer back to my book: Inspiring the Inspirational: Words of Hope from Nurses to Nurses, and share two of my favorite inspirational stories from the book with you. Coincidentally, they both happen to be written by male nurses!
First, I want to share the quote that opens Chapter 3 of the book entitled: "Nurses Inspiring Nurses":
“Inspiration is never genuine if it is known as
inspiration at the time. True inspiration always
steals on a person, its importance not being fully
recognized for some time.”
- Samuel Butler
Years ago, while still in nursing school, I worked the overnight shift at a nursing home. More often than not I was the only Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for the 50 residents in one wing of the facility. Some nights I was the only CNA for all 150 residents. As you can imagine, I spent the entire night going from soiled bed to soiled bed, changing sheets, and changing and re-positioning patients.
One of the women living there had night terrors. She was never able to name that which she feared, but woke every few hours screaming in panic. Her confusion and fear touched my heart as I tried to imagine experiencing her quality of life. I immediately discovered that she would calm down and return to sleep if I spent 10-15 minutes talking to her. Soon thereafter, I discovered that if I came to work 20 minutes before my shift started, held her hand, and talked with her she slept peacefully the entire night through. 20 minutes a day, five days a week out of the life of a student nurse was a small price to pay for her peace of mind.
JT Hayes, RN, PHN
Palm Spring, California
JT’s comment: “I believe that a large part of nursing involves giving of that of which we are made to those in need.”
Story Of Timing And The Watch
I was 50, tired of working outside, and needing a change in occupation. While taking a math course at the university, I was told about the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Program. With bad shoulders from being a lifelong carpenter, I qualified for the program. “What do you want to do?” “I want to be a nurse”, I replied. To make a long story short, I was accepted to the BSN program at the University of Alaska.
Four years later I finished, passed the NCLEX, and was an RN. Faced with a great deal of debt, having four children to support, and being 54 years old, I wondered if I had made the right choice. My wife and I calculated we would be debt free when I was 75 years old. A week later my wife and I decided to go to the mall to walk around. We didn’t have any money so were not concerned about overspending!
As we walked through Nordstrom, my wife was sidelined by a beautiful watch. She looked at it for a long time and just loved it. She then saw the price, which was $3,000, and I saw the disappointment in her face. I felt bad, feeling that she deserved the watch for putting me through the last two years of nursing school.
The next day she told me how she had prayed that the desire for the watch would leave her and her prayer had been answered. A few days later, the doorbell rang and it was the postman with a registered letter. I thought, “Oh no, we are being sued.” I opened the letter, which was addressed to my wife. She looked at the letter from the Reader’s Digest. The opening of the letter read, “Congratulations. You have just won the Sweepstakes worth $250,000.” She got the watch.
Walter J. Liedke, RN