Magazine article American Nurse Today

The Giving Time: Real Nurses Nurture Their Young

Magazine article American Nurse Today

The Giving Time: Real Nurses Nurture Their Young

Article excerpt

MY MOTHER once told me that the first half of your life is all about acquiring things--an education, a job, a marriage, home, furniture, children, reputation, success. The second half is all about losing things--parents, jobs, homes, sometimes children, siblings, friends, spouses. And, indeed, she was right. However, I think she forgot about the time in between, the giving time. This is the time when we have enough money, time, expertise, advice, love, security, and ability to help.

This is true for just about everyone, but most particularly of professionals and their professions. A profession is more than a job--it's a service, a community, and a culture. A professional is more than a coworker--he or she is a teacher, a mentor, and a cocreator. As nurses practice the profession, they also create it. In other words, the profession exists only in its practice; everything else (education, research, management, administration, theory) exists only to serve the person who's practicing (creating) the service. The service exists in the doing of it, and we, the nurses, are its cocreators--for better or for worse, no matter how young or old, or how experienced or inexperienced we may be.

Make a commitment

Nurses, as they assume their professional identities, are pledged to the care of those who need our services. This requires a commitment to the work of understanding, interpreting, and expanding the body of professional knowledge; the disciplined work of criticism and self-regulation; and the work of developing and cultivating in themselves and their colleagues those character traits upon which personal and professional excellence depend. …

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