As we approach the United States’ celebration of Thanksgiving this Thursday, I’d like to offer my gratitude to God for placing me in a society capable of high-quality health care, for raising up so many excellent health care professionals, and for preparing them for their encounters with me and my family. With only a brief reflection, I can think of many examples of how nurses and other health care professionals have met so many elements of need in my life. Some of the thoughts that occur to me most readily involve potentially life-threatening situations. Without competent and caring nurses and other health care professionals, several of these situations might just as likely have turned out in the worst ways possible.
Health care professionals, particularly in the acute care setting, often work through one or more holidays a year. Doing so often requires that decisions be made carefully as to how their family time around the holidays will be spent to accommodate their work schedules. I’ll be working on Thanksgiving this year myself. As I recall, during my nursing career, I’ve worked during the Thanksgiving weekend more often than not. For my family this has led us to reorganize how we celebrate the holiday, contributing to our decision several years ago to gather for Thanksgiving on a Saturday one or two weeks prior to the official date of the holiday. For other health care professionals, such a rescheduling may not be an option, leaving only the sacrifice.
I encourage you to give thanks this week for the high-quality care from nurses or other health care professionals you or your loved ones have received. Given the complexity of contemporary health care and the difficulty of navigating the system as a patient and as a health care professional, that you have received such care should not be a surprise, but it is a blessing.