Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Work Family Love

The ‘Hurst has become a second home to me. That’s where I started my career in Emergency Nursing, where I learned and grew alongside a group of kind-hearted and dedicated people and I am proud to call them my work family. Even after I left in 2011, I craved for news about my beloved ‘Hurst. I am the nurse that I am today because I survived the ‘Hurst. It will always be a home to me, will always be in my heart.

And so, I wait eagerly for Rich’s narratives of his crazy night shifts with trauma and cardiac arrests, and in his own words, “The joint was jumping, 45 pts on A, 46 on B .. 8 in CT.. 26 in FT ... standing orders for 5:2 was not enough ... even visiting resident said " how can anyone yell at Dr Kim 💔.“ And yet, there will always be a time to bond over Jollibee and mango pie, bahn mi and salami, and birthday cakes galore. Haven’t we bonded over picnics, holiday parties, graduations, baby showers, and any other excuse for a party? So much love and camaraderie among the work family.

I share with you all the grief, the profound sadness, and the sense of loss of two strong women, Caryn and Johanna who made a difference in those they touched with their kindness. They have inspired us by their strength. In a world of wonderful people, Caryn and Johanna are prime and shining examples of the phenomenal care-givers we have in our midst. I can only imagine how you are all reeling from the shock, and yet you all continue to swallow the lump in your throat and wipe the tears from your face as you care for the patients who come to the ‘Hurst.

Before Caryn and Johanna, we lost Ruthie, Beckley, Neil, Angel, Kathy, Jennifer, Phyllis, Arlene, Bob, Kettly, Ana, Julie, Rowe, and Angela. And the list goes on. Nurses, doctors, PAs, techs, clerks. All members of the work family. We have fond memories of them, as we shared short-staffed and heavy-volume shifts. They left their footprints in our hearts. There was also an ER resident who took his life, Derek who battled depression, Brad who died tragically, and a new nurse who was stalked and killed by her husband. I felt guilty then because we did not recognize they needed help.

I remember one nurse who was triaging a patient with tears streaming down her face that the patient actually forgot that she was in pain and came around to comfort the nurse. I still feel remorse that I had to cancel a dinner date with Phyllis because of a work emergency, only to lose her after a week. I remember Neil hugging me when he saw me break down in tears after I ran around to comfort each nurse after Beckley died. And that’s what we do, even when our hearts are breaking, we try to hold our emotions together because we need to be strong in order to help others. We are resilient in the face of loss.

This work family has to carry on. As you struggle to resuscitate the pulseless patient, as you hold back a negative response when a patient curses at you, as you hold a family member’s hand to tell them the bad news, as you keep your heads above water, as you have each other's back in times of crisis, you are strengthened as a work family. You are a team.

Let us hold their memories in our hearts and celebrate the gift of knowing them.