I think about her often, especially when it’s cold. I remember leaving that morning, facing the cold wind; my icy tears paled in comparison to the chilling confusion that continued to overwhelm me.
It happened near the end of my shift -- a shift that was beyond hectic. Was it my mistake or the mistake of others? Yes -- to both. What could I have done differently to prevent it? I replayed the shift and every decision over and over again. So many errors occurred that evening, all aligning into the fatality, the specifics I now hold to myself after having to share them again and again via probing questions and required statements nearly nine years ago.
It was painful, and it changed my nursing views, my care, and me.
I think about her often, especially on Mother’s Day. She loved to put her hands on my belly. Every night I’d lean over her to listen to breath sounds, check skin turgor, double-check her IV medications, and continue my assessment. She’d sheepishly asked permission to touch my growing belly weeks earlier, and now it was a routine. She told me it -- raising children, life -- would fly by.
A few days later, her status changed, and her family stood by her bedside, celebrating the life she lived and the impact she made on everyone around her. Her son stopped me before I left and wished me a happy first mother’s day. My son was born just a few days later. I still cry when I think about the poignancy of that moment; it changed my nursing views, my care, and me.
I was shaped by these and many other moments. I’m still being formed into the nurse I will be. Every experience, every emotion –- it's a part of who I am and who I am becoming. The same is true for all of us. These moments –- however wonderful or painful or anxiety-filled or scary -– they are perpetually shaping all of us.
My mentors’ experiences are now my own, and my experiences now help shape others around me. They are all our experiences and collective learning, shaping moments.
What particular moments have shifted your nursing care? What moments have impacted you on both personal and professional levels?