Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of my graduation from nursing school. In some ways, it doesn't seem possible that it has been that long ago. But then you remember all the changes that you have seen over the years in the way that we dress, the technological advances that we have experienced, having children the age I was and older than I was then and suddenly you realize that a lot has happened in the last 30 years. I've seen a lot of changes in healthcare and surgical equipment and supplies as well. Including electronic documentation that is so much a part of my current position. In some ways, it is hard that I no longer do patient care. Wanting to do patient care was what my passion in wanting to be a nurse was all about. But I am looking out for patients and the nurses who care for them in a different way now. I'm working to make sure that documentation is as easy as possible for the nurses to complete and still be able to do their patient care. To have information about the patient easily at their fingertips. And that information about the patient can warn the nurses and doctors that perhaps they shouldn't order a certain medication or a certain dose that may be dangerous. That is how I make a difference in patients and nurses' lives these days.
I dug my nursing cap and pin out on Nurses Day this year to take a picture. It is sad that no one gets a cap anymore. Since no one wears them anymore, I guess it makes a certain amount of sense. But the nurse's cap is so much about the heritage of nursing and the nostalgic part of me is so sorry that it isn't a part of current nursing tradition--a rite of passage in nursing education.
Definitely not going to try to go another 30 years--at least not 30 years of working as a nurse. But I have another 15 years until retirement. So I'll keep trucking on and continue to marvel at how much will change over the next 15 years.