The week of May 6th to May 12th was a special time at the Neighborhood Health Clinic. Although there are no bands, no fireworks and no speeches, we very quietly celebrate National Nurses Week. In doing so, our reflections at times focus on “what if” there were no nurses at the Clinic. The ready answer is there would be no Clinic. “What if” there was no Nancy Lascheid, R.N. The answer would be the same.
In a whimsical moment during Nurses Week, some have even imagined a parade of famous nurses marching past our doors. Undoubtedly, it would be led by the most famous nurse of medical history, Florence Nightingale. Ms. Nightingale would be carrying her lantern, which she used while ministering to wounded British soldiers in her night time Crimean War nursing rounds. Because “The Lady with the Lamp” was so dedicated to helping the underprivileged, it would not take much imagination to see her raise her lantern in salute to those at the Neighborhood Health Clinic who are so similarly devoted.
Our imaginary parade would have to include a male nurse, Walt Whitman. He worked as a volunteer at Army hospitals during the Civil War and his writings often reflect his nursing observations. Clara Barton, who began her nursing career at age eleven, is best known as the founder of the Red Cross. She, too, ministered to the Civil War injured and would be marching near the front of our parade. Other famous nurses include Mary Eliza Mahoney, Mary Seacole, Mary Breckinridge, Virginia Avenel Henderson and so many others who deserve to be honored participants.
Because Mother’s Day fell within National Nurses Week, another segment of our parade is populated by those very special nurses who are also mothers. Watching these women march before us is a reminder to all of us whose mothers were or are nurses how fortunate we are. We received not only so much maternal love, but great home care for every bump and bruise to the more serious medical problems.
And so the parade passes by the Neighborhood Health Clinic. The salutes of the famous and not so famous nurses serve as a reminder that the work of the Clinic is undertaken by many, but the week of May 6th is our time for a special recognition of all the NHC present and past nurses. You have made our “mission” at the Neighborhood Health Clinic possible.