I have been a nurse for 34 years,
27 of which have involved working with spinal cord injured persons and their families.
I’ve worked in pediatrics, neurosurgical intensive care, nursing school as an instructor, and a community nurse.
But once I started working with spinal cord injured people I knew I had found where I would spend the remainder of my career.
I always believed that acute care nursing
saved lives, but it was the rehabilitation unit that showed them how to live again. Rehab is critical in teaching people how
to cope with the daily regimen of life’s normal activities. Many patients
had never known anyone in a wheelchair, so they couldn’t imagine how they could possibly go on to lead a normal life. Rehab’s job is to help each person learn how to deal with his or her body, to
learn about equipment that can make their life easier, but most of all to listen and help them see they can go on and have
a fulfilling life. And in the process of helping others I have found that I have
been challenged, encouraged, and inspired.
The Support Group is a place for
everyone to share stories. With shorter rehabilitation stays this group has become
critical to the newly injured. They barely have enough time to learn how to take
care of themselves let alone deal with all the issues they face when they go home. We
have been meeting for about six years and I always come away feeling encouraged by a group of people who have gone on with
their lives and still have time to encourage others.