Linda Harrington, RNC, works in Labor and Delivery at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills, CA. Below she comments on her experience with writing this poem:
When the CNO asked me if I could “come up with something” to submit to the Magnet Art Gallery my first thought was,
“Are you kidding me? No way, I am buried in projects, not a chance.”
Then my ears heard me respond, “Absolutely, happy to do it.”
I need to work on that apparent cerebral disconnect.
I am pretty sure she was expecting an art piece, so I waited for inspiration.
While waiting….life at the bedside continued.
Driving home after a ridiculously busy day, I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror.
I was grinning.
How could I be smiling after the chaotic shift I just completed?
Had I lost my mind during the day’s events?
I attempted to make sense of my facial manifestation?
Reflection offered an explanation and evoked the heart of this poem.
Magnet worthy inspiration had occurred.
I hoped that the essence of what was written would resonate for nurses and remind them of the growth they experience during their career and the beautiful gratification that is found in nursing.”
Linda Harrington, RNC
I am a new grad.
Fear and anxiety are my constant companions.
I am often on the brink of tears: my feelings of inadequacy are overwhelming at times.
I am positive that I learned nothing in nursing school.
I am filled with doubt.
The nurses around me are moving to music I cannot hear.
Gracefully and efficiently they complete their tasks
I watch this ballet of competency fearing I will never learn the dance.
For now, I will mimic the steps as best I can.
A metamorphosis occurs.
Experience dispels the uncertainty I once felt.
I realize it was not expected that I feel comfortable.
A novice never does.
Mentors emerge; acting as choreographers, they demonstrate the intricacies of the dance.
They insist on perfection and practice.
They move aside when they are sure I’ve learned the steps.
I’m beginning to hear the music.
Humming the melody, I join the dance.
The music has become a symphony and I dance with confidence.
Proficient and specialized, I am considered an expert now.
I thrive on the complexities of this Art Form called Nursing.
As a mentor I seek center stage; I share my skills, I teach.
Knowledge is handed down and passed on.
As the performance continues, so too, does the expertise of the dancers.
This evolution of excellence cannot be stopped.
I’ve been dancing for a long time now.
On some days the music is faint or even mute.
Perhaps it’s time to leave the theater.
I close my eyes and can’t help wondering why I still do this.
I decide to relax and take refuge in the silence.
The brief intermission is interrupted by a request for help.
An anxious new grad has a question about her patient’s deteriorating status.
We discuss theory and collaborate on a new strategy.
Without missing a step, the dance continues.
The novice nurse takes action and the patient’s condition improves.
The patient senses relief and whispers, “Thank you.”
The novice smiles, a new skill has restored her confidence, gratitude has restored her spirit.
I walk away feeling fortunate to have been a part of this magical exchange.
I didn’t notice exactly when it resumed, but I hear the music again.
The rewards of the moment remind me why I still do this…
I’m addicted to the music….
….I love the Dance.
Copyright © Linda Harrington, RNC, Reprinted with Permission.