When my sister-in-law Annie was 14, she went to visit her grandfather who lived in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients. She watched as the nurses there patiently talked to him and took care of him. Even at such a young age she knew that these women were angels. It was there and then that the seed was planted in her mind. She wanted to become a nurse.
Originally she had planned to work in geriatrics, just like the angels who originally inspired her to seek this career path, but through her schooling she began to look into other nursing careers. At a career fair, she was offered a position at the local children's hospital where she still works today.
Currently she works on the Airway Trach Telemetry floor with children who have respiratory and heart issues. It would be easy to list all of the ways that a nurse can make a difference in the life of a sick child: caring for them, helping to ease their fears, keeping parents informed about medications and treatment plans. But it is when she goes above and beyond her duties that I feel she makes the most difference. In her hospital, it is very common for many of her patients to be left alone during the day. The parents often have jobs they can't afford to lose and lack a support system that allows for someone to stay with their sick child during the day. Even at night, parents with other children to care for at home are unable to stay in the hospital overnight. As a mom, the thought of leaving my child alone in a hospital at any age is devastating, so I love to hear the stories of my sister-in-law spending extra time with those kids, rocking babies, singing to them, making sure that they have a movie that they enjoy and just sharing the personality that really makes her one of a kind.
Capella University asked me to share Annie's story. Annie didn't attend Capella University, but they share the passion for work that makes a difference in the lives of others. You can hear some of the inspiring stories from Capella University graduates here and check out what their community has to say on the Capella University Facebook page.
In honor of Annie and all of the nurses who work hard every day to make a difference, BlogHer will donate $1 for every comment left on this post (up to $500) to the Alzheimer's Association. So leave a comment letting me know about a nurse that touched your life, how you have been affected by Alzheimer's, or just a way in which you try to make a difference in the lives of others to help us reach our goal of 500 comments!
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