Monday, March 7, 2016

Change May Be Good


I don't like going to the eye doctor. I always feel like I fail a test when they start that "Which one is better? 1 or 2?" business.

and I don't like change...

And this year my eye doctor of 33 years retired this year.

I loved Dr. Offut. When I was three, I couldn't read, so I had to learn pictures. He'd have me drill on the pictures while we waited in the waiting room so I'd be able to recognize them. He had a Pluto in a doghouse that would wag his tail when Dr. Offut would examine your eyes.

He watched me grow. He helped me transition to contact lens and corrected me when I went my entire sophomore year without taking those contacts out and got an eye infection.

I knew his retirement was coming. Two years ago, the guy who had made my glasses for 30 years had retired. Wally Williams was the best in the business. When I first started going to him, he and Dr. Offut had offices in the same building, in the office park across from St. Joe. There was a drugstore downstairs and Wally would take me down to pick out a coloring book. He was always patient when I couldn't see the frames to tell if I liked them or not. He gave me a set of contact lenses when I got married. He was thrilled that I had found a Wally to marry!

So when I called to make my appointment (it had been three years since I had been- how did that happen???) I wasn't surprised when they told me I'd be seeing someone else.

But it didn't make it any easier today.

Surprisingly, though, it wasn't bad. The new doctor was personable, asking me questions and making conversations. She thoroughly explained what she was doing and what she found. She answered questions about my prescription and my contacts.

And I was reminded that being a healthcare professional is a little bit of magic.  When people go to the doctor, they are often nervous for a variety of reasons. They may be afraid of bad news or afraid no one will understand their symptoms. The healthcare professional, though, can make them feel at ease. By being professional and caring, they can set the tone for the entire appointment.

And I was reminded why I love teaching nursing. My doctor asked me why I spent so much time on the computer and I talked about teaching nursing, grading and preparing lecture notes. We talked about the beauty of learning. I loved seeing the light go on in my student's eyes. It's a beautiful thing to get to offer hope, and that's what education does.

Offers a little hope. Inspiration. Confidence.

And I'm so very thankful that I get the opportunity to do that. I can teach book stuff and signs and symptoms and medications... but may I always remind my students that caring for their patient as a patient is the most important thing they can do.

And it took a little change for me to be reminded of that... being out of my comfort zone... which is exactly what nursing often does.

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