My nursing career has taken me down many paths over the years. Presently, I am a Reiki Master Teacher as well as the founder of a nonprofit organization called The Reiki Share Project.
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.
I love your new reply – it covers so much of your role in several areas. I need to find something similar. When I tell people I am a writer, I often get the query ‘what do you write?’ It can take a while to explain that I am a technical writer for the pharmaceutical industry by trade and a creative nonfiction writer by hobby (and a somewhat delinquent blogger, too!). I’ll work on coming up with something neat and simple like yours 🙂
Yes, where have you been. We were talking, the other night, about missing your posts.
Nancy, I will look forward to hearing what you come up with! Let us know. It is challenging sometimes to succinctly define what I do…when I do so many different things.
Thanks for talking about healing at the end of life. We all need to hear this–often.
I learned some of my greatest lessons about healing from my hospice patients and their families. Pain control is healing. Coming to peaceful terms with the dying process is healing. Silly jokes are healing. Being able to give the gift of “dying at home” to a loved one is healing.
Thanks for reading my post!
Jane, Thanks for this insightful look into the broad skills that nursing brings to other areas of our lives. Lois Roelofs
Jane, On second thought, I liked your essay so much that I provided a link to it on my blog. It’s so appropriate during Nurses Week to read about the transferable knowledge and skills of nursing that nurses can bring into expanded roles. Thanks again! Lois (http://loisroelofs.com/
Lois, thank you for linking my essay to your blog! I am honored.
Wishing you a Happy Nurses Week. We will always be nurses!