Why do I write this blog? I ask myself.
I've been a nurse practitioner for thirty years. During that time I've experienced lots of amazing moments, participated in many challenging situations, and had my share of scary experiences. But when I think of what touches my heart the most, it is sharing a family's life with their new baby. Perhaps the need for folks like me stems from the fact that many young families have no extended family nearby. They make phone calls to Kansas, Seattle, or Hong Kong. Sometimes the needs are even greater. Last week a young woman told me, "I feel silly asking you this question, but my mom is dead, so who do I ask for help?" Who is there to share that baby's first smile, to hear that new mother's worry, to give a hug after the grand effort to keep a newborn on the breast? I guess that person's me, a lot of the time.
I often feel like I'm walking on holy ground. I find myself taking a deep breath before I respond. Simply answering a question might in the long run make the questioner feel less secure as a parent. Giving parents skills to discover their own answers is what I believe my job is.
A few months ago a mother of a two- and a four-year-old left the office after her kids' check-ups. "You always make me feel like I'm such a good mother!" she said as she corralled her energetic children and headed down the hall, out the door, and into the world. "You always make me feel like a good nurse," I replied as I grabbed my next chart and headed off to another patient encounter.