*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
"The average cost of nursing school can vary widely," reports SoFi. "The cost for a Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) can be comparable to any other four-year degree. According to U.S. News, the average cost of tuition for the 2020-2021 school year was $9,687 for a four-year public school and $35,087 for a four-year private school."
With the cost of a nursing degree and all the valid concerns about student loan repayment, it would seem only the most motivated potential nurses would actually wind up in the profession. However, as in any profession, there are both good nurses and bad nurses. As a patient, I've experienced both firsthand.
That's why, when my mother underwent a surgical procedure, followed by an overnight hospital stay, I felt concerned. How would she be treated by hospital staff?
Predictably, her experience was mixed. Fortunately, the overnight nurse in charge of her care for twelve hours was, as my mother described her, "an angel on Earth."
Having surgery can be a scary experience. For my mother, who had never had surgery before, it was terrifying. In the months leading up to her procedure, she'd wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and worry about it until she couldn't fall back asleep.
The longer she waited to schedule the procedure, the worse it got. By the time her day of surgery actually arrived, she was in terrible shape mentally as well as physically.
Fortunately, my mother lucked out and got an amazing surgeon. She was so nice. Likewise, all the physician's assistants and staff were awesome and made my mother feel as comfortable as possible.
After my mother moved from the recovery room to her hospital room, she met the nurse who would spend the next twelve hours taking care of her. The nurse's name was Olga, and she was soft-spoken with a beautiful Russian accent. My mother said Olga made her feel like a queen.
The nurse's kindness really helped my mother with her post-surgical anxiety. There was one thing in particular that Olga told her that made an impression on my mother.
"I'll be in and out of your room all night taking care of your IV," she said. "If you want to talk to me, please talk to me. But if you're trying to rest or sleep, just ignore me, and I'll be as quiet as I possibly can."
It isn't easy to get any sleep in a hospital with all the noise from the equipment and the overnight medical staff, yet Olga made sure she did everything she could to provide an environment that was both safe and conducive to sleep.
"I feel so fortunate that I had a nurse like her for my overnight stay in the hospital," my mother told me. "It's impossible to explain how kind and gentle she was."