Nursing is one of the most misunderstood professions.
Medicine and most of the healing arts are goal oriented, and are distinguished one from the other by their interventions: one does surgery, another dispenses medication, another does massage or reiki.
Nursing is not like these. Nursing is seamless vigilance; it is deciding what is necessary in the moment, being with the person, with the patient as they sail on through sickness on their journey towards health ebbing and flowing. Health is about how well we live within our changing environment. The patient's limitation in caring for self is the determining factor in how the nurse will be with the patient. Health is not based upon circumstances; it is dependent upon how we living beings respond or adapt to circumstances. Nurses are our allies picking up the slack, sometimes for perfect strangers in the most intimate of ways.
It is appropriate that Nurses’ Week leads up to Mother’s Day. Florence Nightingale saw nursing as women’s work. “Every woman is a nurse.”, She said. Nursing is an extension of the work of nurturing life.
Taken as a whole, women are traditionally found in positions where their purpose is to support the birth, growth, and life of a person, a place, or a thing.
Woman’s work varies in the amount of attention and action required moment by moment by environmental flux, both internal and external to the entity for which we are caring.
Rianne Eisler described it as partnership and indeed it is. In my experience and my research it is not the man that is the partner of woman, it is the life for which she is caring. Together, the nurse and the life force with the support of men partner to keep life going forward.
The work of men that is assistive to the continuous work of nurturing life not the other way around. Men’s work, is the model for the healing arts. It is goal oriented with a beginning a middle and an end.
So as we celebrate Nurses’ Week and Mother’s Day it is my fervent wish that day by day, we see more clearly, love more dearly, and protect more fully this miracle of life that is our Home. May women’s work be seen for its essential contribution to our continuance as a species, and may men’s work continue to develop only in those ways that sustain life for all beings here on Earth.