By Sharon Gittings
I am a 100 Women member, this is a new and recent journey I’ve started upon.
I am also an Emergency Nurse, this is a longer-term journey that I have travelled and still continue on today.
At the core of being me and of being a nurse is the simple mantra to be able to help others. I get satisfaction from it, I feel fulfilled in being able to help and feel that this is a major part of my purpose and my journey. In the emergency department however I am walking into an unpredictable environment to work with a group of clients that often sit at the extremes of life and then everything in between that too. Everyday is a mixture of helping people to survive, to breath, to walk, to diagnose, to cope, to understand, to empower, to advocate and to appreciate, and, to myself to leave knowing that I have done the best I could in the situations I face.
At times, given the nature of the work and the clientele, even with the best of intentions at the end of a day ‘wins and gains’ can be difficult to see and the final results often difficult to understand and comprehend. Feelings of dissatisfaction with the job I’ve done sneak in and I am left questioning the impact that I have actually had on other people and how many people did I really, truly help. These thoughts can sometimes take a turn down a twisting slope and if not recognised and halted can form into burnout and compassion fatigue, something that is becoming more commonly seen and recognised in any health profession.
Finding the ‘little wins’ in everyday practice and learning to appreciate the ‘bigger picture’ is important to learn and to embody to not get disheartened with work life and with the job that I have done and with those things that haven’t quite gone my way. This is something I teach and that I preach regularly, I try to employ in everyday life and I hope this is something my colleagues and patients take away from me.
Quintessential to the wins is the teamwork embodied in a medical environment. No one works in isolation, we work as part of a bigger team to see, diagnose, treat, help and (hopefully) discharge every patient. Without the team the wins that we have would never be possible or at times on such a large scale and against tremendous odds.
100 Women embody the elements that I try to employ on a daily basis in my professional life, but sometimes don’t quite to meet. In joining these women, in donating with them, I feel that I have been given an additional opportunity, another chance to help, to empower, to develop and to support worthy women on their own journey. In a very selfish way to look at it, 100 Women is my second chance to make a difference where I might not always succeed in my own everyday life, especially in my work life. And, being witness to many a second chance as a nurse, they are highly sought after and when found highly valued too.
Grouping funds to make a bigger impact is mirroring my use of a team to the best possible advantage and to individual strengths. Compounding the effect that I can make as an individual is again a selfish treat to me. My small act, my small donation is magnified and I can help more people. I can make a bigger contribution to helping someone else to improve. I can specifically direct my funds to women. I can empower more women to live a life similarly to the one I am grateful for and I am both excited to see this come to fruition and thankful I have been given this opportunity to contribute.
I’m not looking at giving up nursing. I love my job, win or lose, and I love the daily opportunities to be able to help and to give. 100 Women simply compounds my ability to do this and I am grateful that 100 Women has become a part of my life and I am excited to see what future opportunities open up from here and how many lives I can be a part of, even by the smallest amount.