How One Nurse Ensured Her Patients Never Truly Felt Alone
A Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico is starting every day on the job at around 5:00 a.m. and during her drive to work, she gets to watch the sun reveal its glory over the Sandia Mountains while she drinks her coffee.
Her name is Nicole Abate and her inspiring story proves that there are still humans out there filled with nothing but warmth and kindness.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said, as per Upworthy. “A lot of us need a little calm before the storm.”
Last year in March, after a mostly bump-free start of the year, the nurse’s unit became the official COVID unit for the hospital she works at.
Nurse Abate said:
“It went full force after that.”
She feared being overwhelmed with the uncertainty and madness of it all.
“Just when you think …we know exactly what we’re doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that’s part of nursing too.”
Nurse Abate took everything that came her way with courage and grace, and as a result, made life for her patients and their families a little more hopeful and calm.
One letter from a patient’s family reads:
“Thank you for taking care of my father. You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful.”
Medical workers are accustomed to losing patients – it is part of their calling.
But the difference for Nurse Abate during the covid crisis was watching her patients suffer through it on their own. And that is what inspired her to bring an iPad to a patient’s deathbed so that the family could say their final goodbyes via webcam before the patient left this world.
“I don’t think I have a greater honor than to be the person to hold someone’s hand while they take their last breath.”
Wendy Mason, PhD, a faculty member in the School of Nursing at Purdue University Global said:
“Nursing can be a traumatic field to work in. Nurses are exposed to pain and suffering and trauma, and we are often traumatized and not even realize it. If we aren’t caring for ourselves, we can’t care for others.”
Self-care is of vital importance for people in all fields of work, but especially for medical staff, who spend their days caring for others.
One study found that self-care brings down stress levels, replenishes a nurse’s ability to act with compassion and empathy, and consequently, improves the overall quality of care. However, nurses are not always great at putting themselves first.
Nurse Abate says that because she wasn’t taught the importance of self-care in the early stages of her life, making herself a priority has always been a difficult task.
“As I’ve grown older, I realized it’s imperative,” she said.
“I’m stressed until I finally walk in the door and my dogs come up and greet me … it’s hard with COVID because you come home and it’s all over the news and you just can’t escape it. It’s very hard work but it’s the most rewarding work that I’ve ever done in my life.”
Nurse Abate feels she has become more resilient over the past year and a half and has found numerous ways to keep herself in balance like going on walks, reading, and visiting her parents. And while she was able to make the best of the dark times she was faced with, she can’t wait to go back to her usual self-care routines of monthly massages, hitting the gym with loved ones, and antiquing.
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