Battling their own enemies

Since the beginning of time, wars have always been a reoccurring event. Two sides that are in disagreement or want power, fight to the death to decide who gets what. Soldiers fight the physical war while commanders and other higher up leaders strategize battle plans. In the midst of all this chaos, a few soldiers and women are enlisted to care for the wounded and ill in hopes of nursing them back to health so they can continue the war. In 1775, at the beginning of The Revolutionary War, male soldiers were called to be nurses. When war leaders realized the need for them to fight, they hired the women who followed the company, consisting of mothers, wives, and daughters of soldiers.

Some women jumped at the opportunity to care for the soldiers because it meant that they could keep following the company and be near their loved ones. They soon found themselves fighting illnesses, doing the dirtiest jobs in unsanitary environments, and earning close to nothing for their work. While soldiers were off battling the enemy, nurses battled their own enemies too. They were forced to work in filthy spaces that made them susceptible to contracting infections and diseases like smallpox. Their pay was a mere $2 a month and if they decided not to volunteer as a nurse they were threatened to have their food rations taken away. At the time, everyone knew nurses were necessary, but no one was familiar with the profession and its practice enough to help them succeed. It was a time of trial in a way, where nursing which was usually done in homes had moved to the battlefields.

Reading about these experiences that nurses had during The Revolutionary War makes me even more grateful that as a nurse today I have a team of health professionals that I can look to for help. There are healthcare systems today that advocate for nurses and care about the problems they have to face. Healthcare leaders are continuously looking for solutions to help make the nurse’s job simpler, less stressful, and most importantly safe. As a practicing nurse, I will make sure that I use the given resources and ask for help from my peers and leaders. Unlike the battlefield nurses who had little support, I am lucky to have the support of many colleagues while at work. My battles will be the battles of my team. I am grateful for what nurses back in 1775 did to shape the profession into the one it is today.

Started from the bottom

I have always admired nurses and their willingness to do what many people dare not do. They do things so smoothly and make tasks look simple when really they aren’t. Nursing is viewed as a noble profession because of the ability nurses have to stay calm, care for, understand, empathize, and execute tasks. That was not always the case, especially in the Renaissance era where the job was left to the women who were slaves, illiterate, uneducated, and alienated. Maybe alienated is not the right word to use, but the point I am trying to make is that they were not looked up to any means. Very very different than society today. No one went out of their way to call them and ask for a professional medical opinion like they do today.

In that Renaissance era, the work that nurses did was frequently overlooked, simply because it was a job done by women of lesser social status. Unlike today, there were no lines and waitlists of people wanting to become nurses. What moves me the most about this, is that over the centuries, the work of these slaves and lower class women established the foundation for modern day nurses like myself to be seen as a prestigious professional and contributor to society.

The next time I catch myself complaining about how hard nursing school is, I will reflect on how lucky I am to learn this art and how grand of an opportunity I have to be a nurse this day in age. Knowing the humble beginnings of nursing gives me a greater appreciation for the tools, technologies, and resources I have access to today. They started from the bottom caring for the ill on battlefields and in homes with little resources, but I have an infinite amount that will help me provide better care!

Vacation Mode

Aloha from Moloka’i, Hawai’i! If you’re wondering why my team discussion, quiz, and other assignments are just barely meeting the deadline it’s because I’m in vacation mode. As of May 1, I have been home in Hawai’i, enjoying the beach, food, and my family. Yes, you heard that right, I’m from Hawai’i. You might be wondering why in the world I moved to Utah where there’s no beach, alright food, and bipolar weather. Life in paradise is expensive and it’s only getting worse. Gas here on Moloka’i, if your were wondering, is $5.04/gallon. A little less than what a gallon of milk goes for. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it here and when I remember to, I get some homework done.

Speaking of homework, can I just say how refreshing it was to have a break from homework for a week? Even just a week without school work made a huge difference on my mental/emotional health. 2nd semester of nursing school is done and in the bag, but the real work is just getting started. This summer I am taking Nursing Through The Ages along with Pathophysiology. Now that two are quiet different in material and learning outcomes, but both are going to prepare me for my career as a nurse. Patients want someone who can explain to them why their body is acting or reacting the way it is, and they want someone who can be as compassionate as the legendary nurses of the past. So really, if you think about it, both of these summer courses will help me succeed later in life as a nurse.

The workload this week has been bearable, even while I’ve been on vacation. It’s nice to have professors who are understanding and emphasize taking it nice and slow at the start of the summer semester. They’re the real MVPs if you ask me. As I enjoy my last few days on vacation, the reality of school work is starting to hit me once again. You know what they say, “All good things must come to an end”.

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