Keeping Creativity Alive
Frank's recent post "Nursing Fun with Tumblir" inspired me to put away my clinical thoughts and allow myself some space to be creative. As a nurse, your days are filled with demands from managers, from patients, from doctors, even from your institution's EMR (electronic medical record) system. You will be an artist of multi-tasking. And there will be days when you feel robotic. You'll lose touch with what brought you into nursing in the first place. Sometimes you will feel like it is just another job. Before these thoughts turn into bad feelings, make sure you have a creative outlet to keep the connection between nursing and all that is beautiful about humanity alive.
I know a nurse who loves poetry. She writes wonderful poems and posts them in the lounge for staff to read. I know another nurse who takes to more tactile creative forms. She collects all the caps from medication bottles and makes beautiful flowers that we glue to our ID badges. There's another who paints these inspiring pictures of different views from a hospital room. These are the nurses I admire. Since we work with people of all backgrounds and walks of life, we can be perfect artists if we allow ourselves space and time to create. We see people in their happiest, saddest, most vulnerable states. Do something with this wonderful material you have cultivated over the years. Keep dreaming.
These past few days I have felt the need to be introspective. My desired outlet is (believe it or not) writing. I decided to use a recent patient interaction as material to write a letter that will never be sent, but that has allowed me to reconnect with the beauty of my job. It has left me more grateful than before. I'll share it with you:
Dear 16 year old male patient,
While you were under anesthesia in the OR, your mother paced back and forth within the confines of the waiting room. A paradox of emotions filled her blood, ran down her arteries and back up through her veins. From her heart pumped relief; this long journey of limb lengthening was finally over. Her son was soon to be freed from his external fixture. He could go back to running and jumping and kicking and sleeping like a normal kid. Though gratitude and solace were most definitely present, another feeling grew in your mother’s heart. While you were under, dear boy, your mother was terrified and disconsolate. She had cleaned the pins that protruded from your bones every morning and every night for almost one year. She loved sitting next to you while she delicately rubbed those pins. Sometimes there was laughter, sometimes tears, sometimes silence, but all the time you still needed her. And while you were under anesthesia today, for what is hoped to be the last time, she cried thinking of the fact that those days were over.
Young boy, your mother is a wonderful person. A wonderful woman. A wonderful mother. She will take your hardware, the pins and screws that had been apart of your leg, of your identity, for so long and make a piece of art, a sculpture. She will try to convey these contrasting feelings that presented themselves while you were under.
There is no way at all you can understand how love has been epitomized here. You are too young. Too silly. Too eager to run and jump and hook up with girls again. I just want you to trust me on this: the opposites of the human heart have shown their face eloquently. Your mother’s response is true art. Truly humane. It is truthful insight on the human psyche. Please don’t forget this in the years to come. Do not forget that while you were under anesthesia your mother both praised and shunned you, both smiled and cried for you and for herself. My goodness, boy, while you under you sure were loved.