Tonight is my last night working 2nd shift & my first night working 3rd shift.
It's a bittersweet moment for me. I'm ready to start the next chapter of my life, nursing school. Working 3rd shift is necessary in order for me to achieve that goal.
I will be getting to know new residents, whose lives I know I can positively impact.
But, I am also sad. I will miss those residents who I've become so close too. After spending 40 hours a week with them for almost a year, the idea of hardly seeing them anymore is breaking my heart.
They have become like family to me, & I love each of them.
These are people who have lived long, incredible lives. And even though I'm sometimes so busy I can't imagine that I'll ever get finished with my work, I always make time to listen to their stories - which is the most important lesson I ever learned.
Throughout my career I will meet & care for many patients. I will treat them all with the same love & respect, but I will forget most of their names & faces. No one can remember everyone, & I think that's a good thing in the end.
But the names & faces I'll remember vividly are those of my original residents.
The people who say, "Hi there, honey bee! How are you today?"
The people who say, "I'm so glad to see you! You're one of the people I feel close to here."
The people who say, "You're my little princess, & don't you forget it."
They've shared their wisdom, as well as their goodnight kisses. I have been through silly moments, frustrating moments & downright disgusting moments with these people - & every single one has been worth it.
When I started this job I had never worked in health care before. I was terrified because I had no idea what to expect. It was these residents who really taught me how to do this job, better than any book or lecture or clincial practice ever could.
The hardest part about this transition is knowing that I will not get to see some of them ever again. Although I will get back to this unit in my travels, those days will be infrequent & some of my dear loved ones will be gone. And given what their situations are, I am not able to say goodbye to them because they wouldn't understand if I did.
The blessing is, most of them won't realize I'm gone. They're happy to see me, but when it comes to patients with Alzheimer's & dementia, out of sight really is out of mind. While I'm glad there will be no hurt feelings on their part, my own heart is breaking.
So this is my tribute & my goodbye to those people who not only taught me how to do what I do, but also to love what I do.