Friday, 2 March 2012

Nurse Shark

AppId is over the quota
AppId is over the quota

"It is truly one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." - William Shakespeare

A few years ago I attended a writing and speaking workshop in Cancun. (I know, I know, a tough place to play, err, I mean, stay.) On a free afternoon, I went to a marina where I put my hand in a pool to touch a stingray, a turtle and a shark! Not just any shark, the guide explained, but a nurse shark.

Nurse?! I silently fumed. Why would they name a vicious, man-eating creature "nurse?"

The guide must have felt my feathers ruffling as he explained. "Most sharks take water in through their gills to move and propel themselves. Nurse sharks are one of the few species that do not require this and therefore they can lie sluggishly on the bottom of the ocean. When sharks and other ocean-living creatures are injured or ill, they descend to the bottom to die. The nurse shark swims under them and lifts them up to the surface where they can breathe and live again."

By now I was beaming with pride for my "fellow nurse" sharks and my buttons popped when he pointed to the dolphins in an adjacent tank. He told how one of the three did not adapt well during the transition from the ocean to the tank. In spite of all efforts from the expert staff, the dolphin sank repeatedly to the bottom. The nurse shark swam under it and lifted it over and over again until it recovered and swam playfully with the others.

"Isn't that just like a nurse," I said as I affectionately pet my new fish-friend.

Nurses "lift" patients and families every day. And we can do that more for our colleagues. By "lifting" each other, we can help one another stay positive and work efficiently.

Most nurses did not choose this career because of great hours and working conditions. As trite as it may sound, most of us entered the profession of caring to help people in their toughest times. I often say that nursing is a calling. That's why we sign on and stay on.

We can help each other stay in this honorable profession longer (and happier!) which will not only ease the nursing shortage, but improve the care for patients - and isn't that what we're all about?

LeAnn Thieman LPN, CSP, Speaker Hall of Fame is the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul, Second Dose and Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul. To learn more about her books or her speaking presentations see her website at or call her 970-223-1574.

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