Promises to My Future Patients

I start my first job as a Nurse Practitioner tomorrow. I’ve been anticipating and ruminating over this next chapter of my life all summer. Without intending to, I began a list in my head of promises to my future patients. They are as follows:

  1. I promise to listen. I can’t do my job well if I don’t know your story. You are the expert on you. There will be times when I fail at this, and I ask your forgiveness in advance for the times I make assumptions and discount your story. I will strive to make you to feel heard and seen.
  2. I promise to remember how vulnerable it can feel to be a patient. I remember being a patient when I was 18 years old and had no idea what to expect. I will remember that feeling and do my best to make you feel comfortable.
  3. I promise to let you define what health is for you. My idea of health is not your idea of health. My job is to help you set your own goals, and then to walk with you as you strive to meet them.
  4. I promise to be patient with myself and with you. Slowly by slowly, brick by brick we will walk together toward health. This one is hard for me. I am used to jumping in with both feet and running hard. Then, I burn out. I will try to slow down.
  5. I promise to take care of myself. When I enter into a space with you I want to be present, and in order to do so I must tend to my own needs. I’m still learning what those needs are, but I will do my best to meet them as they arise so that I might be wholly present with you.

Thank you in advance for sharing your stories with me. I promise to cherish them always.

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