21: The Spouse of a Nurse

21: The Spouse of a Nurse

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

The Spouse of a Nurse

The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.…

~William Osler

The nursing field attracts only the finest individuals. The demands placed on a nurse are not only physical, but emotional and mental as well. These demands are also, to a lesser extent, felt by the family of the nurse.

The parents of a nurse see their child entering a career full of hardships, long hours, and stress but know it is a special calling that only a few can answer. Unbeknownst to the nurse’s parents, the pursuit of this career began at an early age when they raised their child to be a caring and empathetic person. As the graduate nurse walks off the stage, they bestow hugs, kisses, support, and assurances that the nurse made the correct career choice.

The spouses of nurses enter into an unknown world, unless they also work in health care. The spouses learn that they will see very little of the nurse on the days the nurse works, and days off are spent trying to rest for the next shift. The nurses arrive home with achy feet, stained uniforms, smelling of others’ bodily fluids, and after a quick shower, fall asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows.

The spouses of nurses also learn that their nurse will sometimes cry for reasons known only to the nurse, and no amount of hugs or kisses will stop the flow of the tears. Many meals will be eaten alone since the nurse’s hours are unpredictable; working late becomes routine. The spouses know that their love is the greatest comfort.

The children of a nurse say goodbye early in the morning and may see their parent return home late in the evening, many times after they are in bed. The children learn at an early age that they must sometimes put off their birthday celebrations until the nurse’s day off, or that a special event will sometimes be attended by only one parent while the nurse is at work.

The spouse of the nurse explains to their children how important the nurse’s job is, and how the nurse eases people’s suffering. The children respond that they understand, and they smile and put on a brave face, still wanting their mom or dad with them to celebrate their special day.

After the event the children wait with pictures and stories to share, but as soon as the nurse comes home, they run to greet their parent, forgetting their disappointment, forgetting the pictures and stories, but giving hugs and kisses. To the nurse this affection is also thanks for doing a job that often appears thankless.

After working long, emotional, strenuous hours, the nurses go home to be recharged with love, support, and understanding. Then after a few hours sleep, they return to work to face challenges all over again, feeling strengthened by those who love these angels of mercy.

I am the proud husband of a registered nurse. I am also a former Navy corpsman and a former New York State paramedic. I have seen firsthand what nurses go through every day. I do not know if my wife realizes how special she is and the difference she makes in the lives of people.

I am there to dry her tears, to comfort her, to help her recharge. I am there to give her support, motivation and love. But mostly I am there to say thank you to her… and to you… for following a special calling few can answer.

~Mark Anthony Rosolowski

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