No Apologies.

This is one of those straight to the point blogs. I thought about toning it down, but, healthcare workers have been made to be quiet for so long, this won’t be one of those moments.

There have been so many changes and upheavals in healthcare over the past few years – Covid, short staffing, burnout – just to name a few. I feel like I spend so much time apologizing for things…

But…

There are things I will never apologize for.

I will never apologize for spending “too much” time with a patient and their loved ones. Those of us that work outside of the hospital have a little etched in our brain timer per visit. “Do what you need to do and move on.” Excuse me, but as a hospice nurse I never know what waits for me at each visit. Will a patient have started to transition? Will a loved one have come to the bitter realization that the patients last moments are near? Will I have to call multiple doctors to get a needed order? You cannot and should not put a time limit on care. We fill the roles of confidants, ministers, authorities, educators, therapists, aides and sometimes beauticians. I will always do whatever is in my power to make those I care for be mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually nurtured. Period.

I will never apologize for ordering the most appropriate supplies and equipment that a patient requires. Can they still get up but need help? Yep, lift recliner. Can they still get out? Yep, portable oxygen concentrator. Does that patient have wounds? You better believe that just because they are hospice patients they won’t get wound specific dressings. No, I am not slapping on a piece of gauze with tape and calling it a day. What if that was your loved one? Would a 4×4 for a deep wound be acceptable? Didn’t think so. Will order smart, but will definitely order what is going to add the most quality and comfort to a patient’s life. Period.

I will never apologize for standing up for myself. We are often taught, as healthcare workers, to almost be small. Don’t draw attention to yourselves. Keep your head down and do your jobs. Don’t ask about money. Don’t question PTO. Our options aren’t valued and often tossed in the circular file. If you know me, you know there isn’t anything small about me. I will never be rude or abrasive, but just don’t expect me to silence myself if I feel the need to speak up. Period.

I will never apologize for advocating for my coworkers. Sometimes, it’s just one voice advocating for a whole group. All it takes is one voice to make a change. Period.

I will never apologize for building bonds and forming relationships with patients and their families. We see people at their most vulnerable, their most intimate and life changing moments. Some people are just able to put up a wall and not experience that with them. I cannot. In my mind, the day I stop feeling what they feel and bonding, that’s the day I should stop being a nurse. Period.

I will never apologize for being passionate about being a nurse. I try to stay updated and educated on current nursing topics. Making cheat sheets or little educational briefs for myself and fellow nurses is a way that helps me to make my own job, as well as theirs a tiny bit easier. This profession is my calling and I will always feel this strongly about it. Period.

I will never apologize for asking questions. I will not apologize for challenging an opinion. There can be productive discussions that blossom from a challenge. If one becomes defensive and abrasive because of being asked a question, how can forward growth be achieved? Want to question me? Want to challenge my opinion? Go right ahead. Let’s discuss. I won’t ever shut you down. Period.

I won’t ever apologize for caring too much. Checking on a fellow nurse who has had a rough day just because. Helping an aide that maybe has way too many patients that day. Taking a patient that has been talking about how much they love ice cream a cup of their favorite flavor and seeing that smile. We are all humans. Little things are what add up to making this life we live bearable. If you ever expect me to seek forgiveness for this, it won’t happen. Period.

My heart is big, it sometimes gets me in trouble. I won’t apologize for it.

My caring sees no boundaries of race, orientation, age, status and background. I won’t apologize for that.

I voice my opinion, I speak my mind and don’t have a hesitation to advocate. I won’t apologize for that.

Apologizing for any of these would go against who I am and the oath I took as a nurse.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes as a parting gift…

A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for those around her.

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you are put on Earth to do, with such passion and intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling. – Van Gogh.

Think about a seed – in your shoe it would be an irritant. In a garden, it causes a beautiful flower to bloom.

By Helen Haddick BSN RN CHPN

RN who has just left critical care in the hospital for hospice. Join me for my journey Please feel free to leave comments and like if you enjoy this

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