Group of healthcare workers standing in hospital hallway
HealthFebruary 11, 2021

My nursing shift continues

By: Agnes T. Melad-Juat, MSN/Ed RN CPAN
The year 2020 highlights the role of nurses. It is then with great pride, as a nurse myself, to show them respect alongside all those who are fighting as a front-line worker or those standing brave and strong at the frontline. Yes, I cannot stress this enough, most especially in a year where everything is, and everyone has a story to tell.

Every day, we all kept our eyes on what is about to unfold right in front of us. Every day, we are filled with a variety of vague and ambivalent emotions of sadness, fear, excitement, anger, isolation, gratitude and strength. I can go on and on about everything that has been, but I know there are memories that you choose to keep to yourself and your family. I will respect that space as well-both for you and me. Just like a movie, we all played a character throughout the year and all the days that came and the days that will come. I personally saw how each one of us created our own safe bubble to make it through day in and day out.

At the beginning of the year, we were filled with so much anticipation of so many things as we are about to embark on a new journey, but then in a strange way, things are starting to take a turn from the feeling of joy to anxiety, which extended and turned from days to weeks to months. There were times, I wanted the nightmare to be over, but disappointingly, harsh reality starts to creep up. All of a sudden, we are all chaotically finding a way to understand what is happening. Asking questions and seeking answers for which we do not even know if we want to hear the truth about it.

Yet we did not waste time. We started to shift ourselves to become more equipped and we geared up with energy and look towards using our talents and resources that are already within our reach. We started to elevate our persona into some territory that we have chosen not to share with the world. But the more we suppressed our emotions the harder it gets and as times have changed, we started to open up a little of ourselves to show the world of finding a reason to continue the “norm” of our daily life. Some households started to show baking and cooking skills. Plant lovers spoke of their green thumb magic to care for this beautiful ornament, name it from the smallest to the biggest kind of fixture indoors and outdoors. The writing prowess of everyone came to life sharing the emotions that entangled with their ability to reach out to others, family, friends and strangers alike. Parents and guardians alongside teachers became partners to make sure learning takes place either in person or not.

There is so much more that we have discovered about ourselves, about one another. We all responded in many different ways. Call it survival instinct, I call it “strength”. Yes, you carry it in your heart and mind. You are a reflection of it. I saw that in the faces of those I met at the grocery store during a quick run-in, at the school during working hours and most of all to the people I admire most, my colleagues at the nursing bedside. I tell myself how one can still carry a smile on the most difficult of days. I cannot fathom how, but believe me, I am genuinely and sincerely grateful for all that each of you that have contributed to making this world still a place worth living.

So, as I continue the journey with all of you in a different year, time and with a renewed hope. I ask that you continue fighting for what is good, to keep showing kindness and be the heart and face of one who has been through a lot. But still, ready to respond to the call of love and understanding. Our role does not end here. Continue to build memories. There is more work to be done and our fight is not over. The long days ahead are just beginning, so embrace it, stand up and prepare for it. The next shift continues and hand it over with grace.

As for me, I will continue to grow and learn in my #educatoRN role, so that one day in case we cross paths, I will be able to wave my hand at you and personally say “Thank you”. I will always be proud to share that deep love for what we do beyond nursing theories and books. We share that same connection of human care and compassion, which brought us where we are.

Therefore, my shift continues from here and I will do my best to finish it stronger than ever. Remember we are all in this together.

Agnes T. Melad-Juat, MSN/Ed RN CPAN
Expert Insights Contributor for Wolters Kluwer, Nursing Education
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