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May 09

Happy Nurses’ Week!

Dr. Marlene Reimer

This Nurses’ Week I am thinking about the incredible mentors I have had in my career, and about the amazing  nurses who have taught me so much over the years. Recently, I was cleaning off a shelf in my closet and found a clinical journal from 1992, when I was working on my Master’s degree in nursing at the University of Calgary. The pages are full of my thoughts, feelings, and reflections about working with people living with chronic illness—there were so many moments that were profound, moving, special. The pages are also dotted with the comments of my supervisor, the late Dr. Marlene Reimer. Words of gentle encouragement as I wrote about working with a very anxious gentleman with asthma, whose anxiety was only exceeded by that of his overwhelmed wife, who was worried he was going to die. Marlene wrote to me:  “this time you spent with this man was so important-I think it’s really neat how he felt empowered and able to attend more to what was happening with his wife. Your true presence with him made a difference…”.  Or how she would nudge me to think more deeply about patterns and theoretic connections as I worked with a very expert, knowledgeable client: “you have noted that Mrs. X was a leader in so many ways even before she was ill, you may wish to track this pattern of leadership behavior, I have a hunch it is connected to important antecedents of this kind of lived expertise, perhaps connected to internal locus of control? What do you think?…”  Marlene was a remarkable scholar, a remarkable nurse who gently guided, nudged, took the thinking “up a level”, and never forgot WHO I was, as a person…she cared that I was a newly married young mother, shared my joy at the birth of my youngest son. She taught me that education isn’t just about the tangibles: grades, papers, attendance, projects, group work….it is also, and perhaps even more importantly, about the respectful, authentic and caring relationships we nurture with each other, and with students of the profession. Today, I was grateful for a moment to think about that.

Happy Nurses’ Week dear colleagues.

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