Why Bother Rising To The Occasion?
While a junior in high school, I made my first commitment to a “professional” job; I became a nurse’s aide in a nursing home. Working there gave me more confidence than anything in school, and I was tempted to drop out to devote myself to my job. But instead, I stayed in school and worked as a nurse’s aide.
Nurse Nancy, my boss, was young, bubbly, confident and kind. That first week on the job, I shadowed her. She showed me how to take vital signs, how to help patients get dressed and how to make them laugh. Nancy had a knack of treating everyone with the same courtesy and though I was younger and less educated, she regarded me with respect. I wanted nothing more than to please her and did my utmost while under her tutelage.
A few days into my training, Nurse Nancy was suddenly called away, leaving me on my own. Yet, she was confident that I could dress and transport the next patient down to the dining room all by myself. I knew the routine and her trust in me was contagious. I believed I could do the job.
Going into the room, I opened the curtains, and to the best of my ability, mimicked the cheery and confident attitude of my boss. Calling out the patient’s name, Edna, I told her it was time for her to get up for dinner and that I would help her get dressed. But Edna did not respond.
I did not let her silence deter me from my mission. Nancy believed in me. She had trained me well and I had no intention of letting my boss down. I rolled Edna’s wheelchair over to the bed locking its wheels. Choosing a colorful robe from the closet, I laid it on the bed. I lined up Edna’s slippers, glasses, and hair brush while carrying on a one way conversation with her. I had not yet met such a stubborn patient, but I was determined not to let her stubbornness keep me from the job Nancy had trusted me to do.
Pulling back the blanket, I carefully swung Edna’s legs over the edge of the bed and with a little more effort, I lifted her torso upright. Since she would not sit up on her own, I placed my arms under her armpits. Lifting her dead weight off the bed, I swiveled her into her wheelchair. I was perspiring and slightly miffed that Edna refused to help. Yet, I forced myself to follow through and finish in high spirits just as Nurse Nancy had taught me to do.
I brushed Edna’s hair, put her robe on and slid her cold feet into slippers. Satisfied that I completed everything, I opened the bedroom door and wheeled her out into the hallway. Spotting Nurse Nancy coming down the hallway rather quickly, I felt proud, but only for a moment. Without a word, Nancy turned Edna’s wheelchair around taking her back into her room. I followed.
With her brown sparkly eyes, Nancy looked at me and whispered, “Edna just passed away during shift change. One of the other nurse’s aides just told me.”
Feeling confounded and dumb all at once, Nurse Nancy put her arm around my shoulder and smiled, “You sure know how to rise to just about any occasion.”
Why bother rising to the occasion? It is worth following through with even the most challenging of situations. The lesson learned from it will stay with you forever.