The Value of a Nurse Who Says, ‘What Book?’

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by Brad Dell |

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Refined By Fire Ryan Berhar

Being tied to someone 24/7 is par for the course in my life. I require others to meet my physical needs. Usually, those needs are met by family, but I also worked with many different nurses throughout my schooling. During those years, I spent more time with nurses than anyone else in my life, so my school experience was largely dictated by whom I worked with on a daily basis. Overall, I had positive times. Most nurses were good, but I had one who stood out from the rest.

I first met Naomi in fifth grade, and we clicked right away. Some people are born to do a certain job, and it was immediately clear that Naomi was a fantastic nurse with a unique approach. I have had a lot of nurses who were competent at the profession, but a bit “by the book.” Most like to keep the relationship professional. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but Naomi had a different philosophy. One time I was talking with her about the whole “by the book” thing, and she responded, “What book?” That should give you a glimpse of the kind of person she is.

Our time together in fifth grade was great, but the following year I moved on to another school, which of course meant different nurses. This was a frustration for me throughout my childhood. I was spending hours every day with someone who met all my physical needs, yet I had zero say in who this person was. That’s just how it goes, though. And like I said, most of the time it worked out fine. But still, the constant uncertainty caused me stress. At the same time, however, I learned how to get along with different kinds of people, which was a valuable learning experience.

Anyway, I didn’t see Naomi again for years. She became my “relief” nurse in sophomore year and resumed full-time work in my junior and senior years. It was during this time that we became good friends. We had similar senses of humor, so our inside jokes included things like nicknaming other students. In many ways, she was my best friend during those years. She even got me a girl’s phone number once or twice.

The number one thing I appreciated about Naomi was her unwavering advocacy for me. She let me decide everything, so I could have things be the way I wanted them to be. She never tried to control me.

I have talked about how a good friend can alleviate some of SMA’s difficulties, and this concept can also apply to nursing and caregiving. I can honestly say that working with Naomi was the best, most positive part of my schooling.


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