A Thank You to My Nurses After My Stroke

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • This week, I visited the hospital where I was treated for my stroke.  I'm actually there once a month doing my lab work. I'm also there a lot to cover different medical stories for our newscasts. This week I did a story about a report on a potential nursing shortage in the future and so I headed up to the intensive care unit with my photographer to interview the nursing supervisor.
    During the interview she asked "Do you remember me?" I said I did. I didn't really remember how I knew her, but I knew I had met her before and I just thought I had interviewed her on a past story. That was all that was said and we started the interview. Then, I interviewed a nurse who had just graduated and was starting her career. She talked about why she wanted to be a nurse and how rewarding she thought it was, especially in the intensive care unit. It's here where patients are so critically ill. She said it's such a good feeling when she sees a patient get better and they move on. I can't imagine having such a rewarding career, one that really impacts people's lives so personally. So, while I was interviewing her, I wondered why a nursing shortage was predicted and why more people didn't want to be a nurse.

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    According to a new report, the shortage of registered nurses could reach 500,000 by 2025. Some reasons include low enrollment in nursing schools, a shortage of instructors and an increase in health care needs for aging baby boomers. Many statewide initiatives are underway in different states to address both the shortage of RN's and nurse educators.
    After I finished the interviews, my photographer milled around and got some video of the nurses treating patients and talking on the phone at the desk. These are basic shots we need to go along with our story for television. As I was standing in the hallway waiting on him to finish his work, another nurse walked up to me. She asked me the same thing the nursing supervisor asked me, "Do you remember me?" she asked. I looked at her and suddenly my mind was flooded with memories of my stroke. I wanted to cry. I realized she was the nurse who cared for me while I was in intensive care back in 2001 following my stroke. I hugged her immediately, twice! That's when I realized how I knew the nursing supervisor I just interviewed. She too helped care for me after my stroke. So I immediately thanked her too. My doctor did so much to help me with the quick diagnosis and treatment plan. But, it was these nurses who cared for me day in and day out. They helped me to the bathroom, with showers and eating. They would even talk to me and help keep my spirits up. I remember once I came home from the hospital, one of my nurses even visited me at home. She lived near me and would just pop in to check on me. I can never truely give back to them what they gave to me.
    When I started feeling better at home, a friend of mine came by to help me write a few thank you notes. I still wasn't able to move my right arm yet. I recall writing a thank you note to my radiologist who found the blood clot and dissolved it with tPA therapy. I also had my friend write one for my neurologist, who I still see today. I thanked them both for their quick responses in saving my life and keeping me from disability. They were both taken aback. They told me they never received a thank you card before, just for doing their jobs. But, it wasn't a job to me, it was my life and I would write those notes again in a heartbeat. What I regret is not writing thank you notes to my nurses. I didn't even think about how much they helped me until this week when I saw them. Even though they didn't directly save my life, they aided in my overall care and I wouldn't have made it without them. So, I thank them all from the bottom of my heart and hope if any of you are ever helped by a nurse, thank them as well. I hope we never see a shortage of nurses because it would be a tremendous loss to the many patients who need them.

Published On: June 11, 2008