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Monday, December 16, 2019


I love being a Nurse Practitioner. Even working in a fast paced family practice clinic, I made a difference.  For the last 13+ years, I’ve been able to practice how I think is best for my patients.  I spend more time with them than I could in a typical medical practice.  I get to know them.  I get to know their stressors, their highs and lows.  I can help them in meaningful ways, not just writing a prescription.  Some of my patients have been with me since I opened my doors in 2006.  This is the best part of my job.  These patients are more like friends.  I don’t need to look at their charts to know what medications they take, what surgeries they’ve had, what foods they’re allergic to.  I know what they do for a living, how old their kids are.  I get to celebrate marriages, graduations, births, job promotions, beginning new careers, marriages that have made it through hard times.


But the opposite side of that coin is that I also play a small part in their sorrows.  Divorces, aging parents, lay-offs, cancer diagnoses, and deaths.  I can’t always separate my professional objectivity from my personal emotions, because these patients are my friends.  Today, I’m particularly affected by the death of a child of one of my patients.  I don’t just know the mom.  I know the aunts and grandparents of this precious child.  The mom and I were pregnant at the same time, and we compared belly sizes and pregnancy symptoms.  The grandma made a special baby blanket to welcome her first grandchild, and she made one for my baby too.  See? They’re friends.  And this is the worst part of my job.


As I sat at the funeral just 10 days before Christmas, I grieved with everyone else who was there.  My professional objectivity was no where to be found.  And in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Christmas season, I’ve been forced to pause.  Look around me.  Look at my children.  Look at my husband, my extended family.  Remember that I’d rather make memories than wrap presents. Errands can wait till later if I can bake cookies with my youngest child.  Even dishes can wait if it means watching a TV show with my family. That unpredictable tragedies can happen to anyone.  My kids don’t want hugs anymore, but fist bumps and back scratches are still okay.  I made sure they all got those at bedtime last night.


We always talk about taking a step back and evaluating our priorities.  But when was the last time we really did?  I’ve been doing that in the last week.


Posted by Karole Beck at 12/16/2019 11:07:00 PM
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