By Eileen Gavin
MNA Political Organizer
I have a hard time choosing the right gift for certain occasions. Like a lot of people, I get lost in the hustle and bustle of holiday seasons, stressing over the perfect presents to buy my loved ones. Each year is difficult for me to buy the “right” Mother’s Day gift or birthday present for my brother or sisters. I get lost at the mall and find myself staring blankly at the shelves while I tell myself I have to buy something that will convey just right my love to the people who matter most to me. I can never find that something. It’s hard to quantify the appreciation and love I feel for family and friends. The items I found at Target don’t come close to expressing my feelings. Cue the panic.
This is how I feel each year during Nurses Week. I wonder unsuccessfully, what gift to buy, I look endlessly for the right greeting cards, and write multiple drafts of just the right thing to say on Facebook. I always come up short.
I have had the honor of working for MNA for the last nine years. In that time, I have gotten to know and love many nurses throughout Minnesota. I have spent hours of my life in meetings, at the Capitol, door knocking, at rallies, making picket signs, rounding in the hospital, marching in parades, lobbying, and listening to stories with some of the finest nurses and people around.
Over the last nine years I have learned a few things about nurses. One, every nurse’s stomach drops when they hear a code pink. I’ve learned that they never have enough time: time to teach about a medication, to ease the fear of a worried patient or hold a dying hand. I know nurses’ family members get tired of seeing them cry at the end of a long day at work, as they wonder what they could have done for their patients. I know that nurses don’t want cake from their boss for Nurses Week. Most nurses I know don’t even want recognition. I stopped stressing over what card to get the nurses I know and love or which arrangement of flowers to buy, because they don’t want them. All nurses want is to be able to take care of their patients. They don’t ask for souvenirs or praise; they just want to take care of us, our family members, friends, and the community.
So I’ve stop trying to find the right knick-knack to show my appreciation. I tried to articulate in this Facebook post below my sincere gratitude, but am afraid it falls short. So let me just say this, thank you.
Happy Nurses Week to all you incredible men and women. I have the utmost love and respect for each of you. I am honored to work, in whatever small way, on your behalf. It’s a privilege to advocate for those who care for all of us as we come into this world and as we leave this world. Thank you for your compassion, your endless love, selflessness, determination, strength, and heart.