I was a nurse for seven years, and the job taught me many life lessons. My patients taught me how to adequately communicate, educate and care for others. My patients taught me to see them as the people they were. They were not a job, but people who were scared, vulnerable, sick and in pain. Unfortunately, not every learning experience with every patient was warm and fuzzy.
In my last year, I worked in an outpatient setting where patients came in for their treatment and left as soon as their infusion was over. This particular year, it was my turn to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I had a two-year-old daughter, therefore Christmas had just become a little more exciting. I was not thrilled about working the holiday, but I knew my patients needed me to be present. I decided to have a good attitude and understood that my daughter would not remember my short absence on the holiday.
On weekends and holidays, my unit only provided treatment for patients that could not delay treatment. This holiday, I would be working alone because only two of our patients required treatment. Their combined treatments would only equate to an hour and a half of work.
On Christmas Eve, one of my patients began complaining that his appointment was too early on Christmas Day and demanded to know why I could not accommodate him later in the day. As I probed to determine the patient’s issue with the early appointment time, the patient revealed that he did not want to miss a church service.
Despite attempts to explain the scheduling procedures and that I could only alter his appointment time by 30 minutes before or after his scheduled appointment, he became very upset that I could not rearrange my work day around his church schedule. Not only was I not allowed to, but I did not want to. It was Christmas, and I selfishly wanted to be home with my family. He made his disappointment very clear in an ugly manner.
The experience was so unpleasant that had I not been someone that attended church on a regular basis, it would have seriously impacted my desire to want to contemplate attending church. His treatment of another person over a church service was very disheartening. Fortunately, having grown up as a preacher’s kid and in church my entire life, I know that church is full of humans who make mistakes and errors in judgment. It did not alter my own personal church attendance.
Although, it was not a pleasant experience I think about it every time I have my heart set on attending church. I now have three kids, therefore getting to church can be quite stressful. I have to continually stop myself and process how I am speaking to my husband and children as we get ready to leave. If I cannot show love, mercy and grace to those around me, what is the point of attending a church service? We show the love of Jesus by our love of others, not by sitting in rows in a building.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fullfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.