We make a difference!

In our professions, and our lives

by Karen DeDominicis, RN, BSN

When I started working as a summer camp nurse, I knew I would have the opportunity to meet and hire student nurses as camp health aides, and that those health aides would look up to me as a nursing mentor, glean valuable hands-on nursing knowledge from me and their camp experience, and also become friends.  I knew that some of them were going to occasionally ask me for a professional reference as they were finishing up nursing school and starting out on their careers. 

But then one day, my preconceived ideas of the relationships I was building with student nurses drastically changed. I realized I had only a very limited scope of understanding when it came to the influence a camp nurse genuinely has on a nursing student. I received something in the mail that I never expected.  It was a handwritten card from one of my health aides that had worked under me the previous summer. In the sweetest words, she described how much she enjoyed working as a health aide at our camp, how much she learned from me – not only about nursing, but also about life, God (we are a Christian camp), and being a wife and mother. She expressed how she would never want to trade her summer experience for anything else. 

As I was absorbing all her kind words, I read the next line…

She asked me if I would be willing to travel to her university and be the RN that pinned her during her nursing pinning ceremony.  She stated that it would be such an honor to her if I would accept this role.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  How could I not accept a privilege in which the honor would be mine? It was in that moment that I realized the significance and responsibility of my role and the influence we as nurses have to those new nurses coming in behind us. I will never forget that sweet card, and I hope that each of you realize how much influence you have on younger nurses that look up to experienced nurses, not just in the nursing aspect, but also in how we live our lives.

Karen DeDominicis, RN, BSN

Carolina Creek Christian Camps