Touch: The Journal of Healing

 

Touch: The Story


I was called to the vocation of nursing in the fall of 1976 when I entered nursing school.  After 12 months I became a vocational or "Practical" nurse which is the title in Pennsylvania.  After working for a year I returned to college and attended classes during the day while I worked the evening shift as a LPN.  Two years later I sat for my state boards and became licensed as a Registered Nurse, but I have retained my practical nursing license, and I continue to hold to the truths I learned during my first year of education and to the pledge I recited at both of my graduation ceremonies.  I've earned wages for my time and labor, but anyone who is a nurse will tell you that nursing is not something you do for the money.


Several years ago, I felt I had reached a point where there was little more I had to offer.  I had fought the good fight in an attempt to provide my patients with the best care possible, but there was a force called business that began to block my attempts.  Health Care in the United States is a business, a Big Business, and just like every other business, the almighty dollar is the bottom line.  There were too many cuts being made in budgets which trickled down to services, staffing, salary, and benefits.  It was the old story of doing more with less.  There's a saying I learned in Junior High School that holds true today:


"We the willing

led by the unknowing

are doing the impossible

for the ungrateful

and we have done so much

for so long

with so little

we are now qualified

to do anything

with nothing."


I had reached my limit of doing anything with nothing, and I was in a deficit physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I decided to make a change.  I began to write, not nurses notes, business plans, employee evaluations, or requests for equipment and supplies, rather, I returned to poetry and stories, a love I discovered in high-school.


As I embarked on this new journey I continued to walk the path of nurse, though in a lesser capacity.  The first piece I wrote during this time of transition was "The Lives You Touch."  I did not realize that it had been both my foundation and my compass during my years in nursing, and today it serves as the compass that directs my path for writing.  I could not help but be influenced by my professors and by the compassion I witnessed from my nursing colleagues and my colleagues from different health care disciplines, but more than these people, I was influenced by the compassion I received and witnessed from the people I have known as patients.


Within these pages you will read works from people who have committed their lives to the vocation of caring by touching the lives of their fellow human beings, be they health care professionals, family members, spouses, lovers, partners, or friends, and you will also read works from patients themselves.


This journal is dedicated

to all of you

for the lives you

Touch.


O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor

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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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