Remember a few weeks ago when Miss America contender Kelley Johnson delivered a monologue about being a nurse on national television? And the country applauded her for choosing to display her Registered Nurse skills for her "talent?" And then the medical community rallied in the form of millions of nurses all over the country to support Kelley's message and just exactly what it means to be a nurse? If you remember any of that, or even if you don't, you probably remember the coverage on popular morning show The View, the snarky comments (in which Ms. Behar wondered why on earth Miss Colorado was wearing a Doctor's Stethoscope) followed by intense back-peddling and fence-mending when major advertisers began pulling sponsorship. The widespread support of nurses and a surge of unity among medical workers from all areas was a direct result of the misguided comments from the ladies of the View. A blessing in disguise, as Kelley Johnson puts it. Like it or not, America received an education and, hopefully, a new "view" of the nursing profession. I thought I'd take the opportunity to let the nurse in me speak for a change, since the writer gets her own fair share of screen time.
I've spent 22 years as a Registered Nurse and 18 of those in home health care. I've been asked if I ever wanted to be more than #JustANurse and if, as a visiting nurse, I would ever like to become a *Real Nurse.* My stethoscope and I have been responsible for keeping patients out of the hospital, and for sending them there when they need to go. I am often the lens through which the doctor can see a patient who is too ill to leave home. I've walked in on (without back-up) strokes, heart attacks, respiratory distress, falls, family altercations, drug deals and much more than I care to share. I've caught clots before they could become pulmonary embolisms, fluid retention before it could become heart failure, infection before it could become sepsis. I am happy to be just a nurse. Because I am not "just" anything. I am not a nurse aspiring to be a nurse practitioner or a doctor. I am a nurse because this is my niche, this is what I'm good at, and I make a difference.
One year ago today I celebrated the release of The Fall of Our Secrets (E-Lit Books). More friends and family came than I ever could have hoped for, showing up to support me, pitching in to make the event awesome, even a surprise arrival from out of state whom I hadn't seen in years ... what an amazing evening. The wonderful Howell Opera House coordinator who helped with the party remarked later that she couldn't recall ever seeing such a large turn-out for a book release. Best. Night. Ever.
I'm going for short and sweet and I'm not great at that, but I'll give it a shot. To each person who read my book, or told someone about it, or bought it for someone else; to each one of you who somehow helped me get to the point where I had a book to publish, whether it was babysitting, telling me I don't suck, or just being a great source of support; to the readers who have made my day by letting me know what part of the story touched them, which character they identified with; to every single one of you who has been any part of this journey, I hope you know how grateful I am. I truly could not have done it without you. I'm hard at work on the next one and the next one, and I feel so lucky to be afforded the opportunity to fulfill such a wild dream. Thank you!