My facebook has blown up this week with posts about Nurses Week and Teachers Week. Not sure who decided that we should celebrate these in the same week, but the more I think about it the more it seems appropriate. I’ve been blessed to work in both roles. First as a pediatric nurse at a children’s hospital, then as a nursing professor in a BSN program and now as a pediatric nurse practitioner in a clinic. And I’ve learned that nurses and teachers possess a lot of the same qualities. Don’t get me wrong, they are two totally different jobs and require different skill sets. And I didn’t always feel this way. I remember when I was in college and lived in the dorm and my roommate and I HATED the education students on our floor. We would be studying for days on end with very little sleep in the hope of doing well on a physiology test or a microbiology test. We would drag our tired sleep deprived selves out of the room to go to class only to find a bunch of education majors in the hallway complaining about making up games and bulletin boards. “If I have to make one more bulletin board, I’ll just die” they would say. I think we might have helped them with that wish if we weren’t so tired.
All joking aside, I have the greatest respect for both nurses and teachers. It really drives me crazy some of the pictures and E-cards that I see on pinterest and facebook. “Those who can’t do, teach”. “Nurses are trained to save your butt, not kiss it.” “I do this for the money, said no teacher ever.” “I’m a nurse, not a waitress”. While I appreciate that sometimes we deal with the fact that our jobs are crazy hard, overwhelming, and exhausting by using humor, I think we do ourselves a real disservice by posting these things. We greatly lower that amount of respect and admiration for our professions by making ourselves look rude and obnoxious. Because in all honesty, we don’t do it for the money. Or the schedule. Or the fame. Or at least I hope we don’t. We do it because we love the job. We love making people feel better. Or smarter. Or healthier. Or successful.
Now that I have worked as both a nurse and a teacher and have lots of interaction with both I realize that there are quite a few similarities. It takes a special person to do these jobs. Nurses aren’t the only ones who get peed on, puked on, and pooped on. Talk to a preschool or kindergarten teacher sometime. Both jobs require a “stomach of steel”. More importantly both jobs require someone with a great deal of patience, dedication, and perseverance. Both jobs leave you feeling tired, overworked, and underappreciated. Both jobs require people who enjoy working with other people, care about impacting the lives and futures of others, and are willing to work hard every day. Both jobs (if done well) require people who are genuinely invested in the lives of their patients and students. People who care about making other people’s lives better. Individuals who are willing to give more than they receive.
I had a hard time when I was a nursing professor because so many people go into it for the wrong reasons. I had lots of students who were in nursing school because their parents told them to. Or they thought they could make a lot of money. Or they knew they would be able to get a job. I know education students who were doing it because they thought it would be easy or fun. So here is my shout out to all the nurses and teachers who do it because they love it. Because they love others. Because God called them to do it. Because it is their passion not their job.
Thank you Ms. Vogue and Ms. Fast for helping me develop a love for reading. Thank you Ms. Tudor for teaching me that math isn’t really awful. Thank Mr. Sallee for letting us dance in your classroom and have fun learning about things that were sometimes otherwise boring. Thank you Mr. Moberly for teaching me that history doesn’t have to be boring and for comparing me to Mr. Rogers in a recommendation letter (I will never forget that one). Thank you Ms. Clark and Ms. Mardon for my foundation in sciences that got me through those physiology and microbiology classes. Thank you Stacie Trent, Dee Verdecchia, Karen Howard and David Coffey for teaching me most of what I know about nursing and what an awesome nurse is. Thank you Dr. Bentley for getting me through pharmacology and Dr. Fister for helping me discover pediatric nursing. Thank you Dr. Slusher for teaching me how to teach in my MSN program. Thank you Tony Smith and Dr. Callie Shaffer for teaching me most of what I know about being a nurse practitioner. Thank you Ms. Kinzye for loving on my sweet Maddy, worrying about her when she’s not there, and helping potty train her. And last, but certainly not least, thank you Ms. Kitty for teaching my fantastic little 5 year old how to read, add, subtract, and for developing the foundation of her future education (teared up a little on that one).