happy birthday Florence!!!

If you were alive today you would only be 197 years old. Florence who?

Florence Nightingale of course. Today is international Nurse’s day. Where is my cake and accolades??


Flo was a woman with great vision, it was Florence who laid the foundations for nursing to become a profession she also made many social reforms that improved the conditions for women within society.

So today I celebrate nurses! As indeed – all of us should. After people I know have been in hospital or a member of their family has been a patient, they will often come up to me and say…

“Wow the job you nurses do is amazing”

YES – yes, it is amazing the work we do. And some nurses are amazing and stand-out -awesome at doing their work. Some individuals however, like any profession should perhaps let nursing go… if you don’t like people then I think it is perhaps best for everyone if you give it away.

I think that is why I enjoy nursing so much because I really like people. And patients can be really funny… The thing is- it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom even though sometimes the diagnosis the patient is carrying can be pretty hairy.

A while ago I did a shift in the PET department – this is not to be confused with the place where you purchase pets. It is the area of the hospital where patients are mostly seeing if they have cancer. You are injected with a type of radioactive sugar, you sit in a room for an hour and at the end of that you have a scan- which is then known as a PET scan.

As the nurse, there are questions that I need to ask the patient. One mistake I made when we first got the PET (positron emission tomography) scanner at Lismore Base Hospital four years ago- I asked a patient have you ever had a PET?

Well it turned out this guy had quite a few…dogs mostly, one cat but they didn’t really work out with his allergies.  I didn’t want to interrupt him to say no mate I meant – have you ever had a PET scan?

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I had a shift in PET…

‘So ‘Mr Jones’ have you had any recent surgery or procedures that I need to know about?’

Confident as – he replies

‘Yeah I had an autopsy last Wednesday’

My eyebrows shoot up. I don’t know where to look…

‘Gee, you’re looking good…’

‘Thanks.’

I said slowly and clearly to my patient

‘So this bi-op-sy that you had last week, what was that on?

‘Yeah they just autopsied my arm pit.’

What can I do?

We just went with autopsy.

I am not sure anyone reading this will remember that nurses were, back in the day, referred to as Sister… this changed just as I was entering the rank and file. But those patients who are elderly will sometimes still refer to me as Sister…

So I met this patient- a woman in her early nineties. I greeted her,

‘Hello Mary’

‘Sister’

‘No, no, Mary, you can just call me Amie’.

‘I am a sister’.

‘That’s nice’ I say to her.

‘I wish I had a sister or a brother – I am an only child…’

She repeats again

‘I am a sister…’

(This lady has a bit of the Dory from Finding Nemo about her. I will have to check her patient notes maybe she has dementia…)

‘Yes I know, you said. How many siblings do you have?’

‘Siblings?  What are you talking about?

‘Me?’

‘I am a Sister of Mercy…’

I love my job.

These are the type of moments that I love the best. The lightness of two people conversing just having a bit of banter.

That’s how I do.

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