ONCE A NURSE, ALWAYS A NURSE By Jane Van De Velde, DNP, RN
People often ask me what I “do.” And I usually begin by telling them that I am a registered nurse.
Their next question is…”Where do you work?”
This question always trips me up. People seem to think that if you aren’t employed as a nurse, then you stop being a nurse.
However, in my heart and my mind, I am always a nurse—no matter what. My nursing education and experience influences the way I view and interact with the world on a daily basis.
Thanks to all those client caseloads that I managed, the patient assessments I conducted and plans of care I wrote and implemented over the years; thanks to all those papers I wrote for graduate school—I am very systematic in my everyday approach to problem solving, organizing my life, and getting things done. My experience in dealing with patients also serves me well in my Reiki practice. And I have found joy and satisfaction in the process of writing articles, developing Reiki teaching curriculums and putting together newsletters for my nonprofit organization.
Thanks to that dying hospice patient who taught me that even though her life was nearly over, she could still experience healing on many levels—I bring that lesson forward to my Reiki practice knowing that even though curing many diseases may not be possible, there is always the potential for healing.
Thanks to all those hours of attending to patients and caregivers—I have honed my listening skills and have learned that sometimes that’s all that people want—just to be heard. So my husband, children, family, friends, and Reiki clients give me the opportunity to continue refining these skills.
Thanks to all those elderly homebound clients I visited who served me coffee and cookies, treated me like an honored guest, and sometimes begged me to stay just a little bit longer. I learned that simply being quietly present is a wonderful gift that we can give to others. Our “time” is a gift.
So, I continue to do my nursing work every day both personally and professionally in my Reiki practice. And I have developed a new response to the question: where do you work? I tell people that I am self-employed.