Even though I have no clinical experience, I believe there are a few ways in which mothers and nurses are similar:
- You will come in contact with unidentifiable sticky substances, and when you do, no one will be around to clean it but you. And I definately have this one wrapped up. I am a pro at spot scrubbing all surfaces.
- At some point, you will undoubtedly touch poop. Ok I know this one is gross, but let's face reality. What mother or nurse do you know that hasn't had the poopy horror story? Some of us are lucky and strike out at only one or two incidents, but either way, mother or nurse, you're going to have a crappy day at some point...no pun intended.
- Another person's wellbeing is dependent upon you...but that doesn't stop them from whining. And what do we have to learn? I mean, yes. Sometimes we have breakdowns and need to walk away as mothers (hopefully most of us make sure there is a friend or relative nearby to ensure the safety of our children) but a nurse, I would think, has to master the art of patience, forgiveness, compassion, and understanding to care for someone who is...well...a whiner.
- Seeing your child/patient accomplish things gives you a sense of pride. As a mom, I know that when my daughter does something wrong, the first thing I want to do is blame myself. But on the other hand, when she accomplishes things (pouring her own water, putting her own dishes in the sink, picking up her toys, etc.) that's when I can relax a little and say to myself, See? You're not so bad. Nurses have a huge job of intervening in a patients life to help them become healthy again, or improve the quality of their life. That means teaching them, whether to be self-reliant, or about proper nutrition etc., and when they see their patients accomplish that, it must be a similar feeling to what a mother feels.
- A mother/nurse MUST be organized and reliable. If the checkbook is not balanced properly (which I have done) it screws up your family's life for a short time. If a nurse forgets to chart something, or charts wrong, that could be fatal in some cases. And reliability is essential to the feeling of safety your child/patient has with you.
- Both a mother and a nurse have to be good listeners, be loving, willing to allow the kids/patients to make some decisions, and know when to let go.
It's a short list for now, though I know there are many similarities. And by no means do I intend to say that a patient is like a child. I was simply taking what I do know (parenting) and seeing how it compares to what I don't quite know yet (nursing). Mainly to boost my own confidence, since I've been feeling bad about not having the same experience as the other people in my class.
And while I was writing this, it came to me that the art of nursing can also be compared to the art of marriage.
Perhaps I'll save that for a future post :)