Kimberly La Force, RN
I remember being a novice nurse on a busy medical-surgical floor located in a busy hospital in New York. I was running around nonstop for 12 hour shifts, skipping meals and avoiding going to the bathroom because I was always too busy. I was young and skinny then, a volleyball athlete, an occasional runner and I held the perception that I was healthy because I kept myself physically active.
Many of us limit health to the physical because the social construction of health is linked to being skinny, or physically attractive. I too had that understanding and underestimated the complexity of a healthy self.
Years later, I had my own family and found myself having to care for patients, my family and myself in that order of priority. I found myself burned out , not finding time to process all that I had experienced. I was working two jobs, taking classes, caring for my new home and young daughter and always on the move.
Over the years I would discover that health was more than the physical, it involved the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual. I eventually decided to take my educational journey in nursing in a different direction when I enrolled in a Masters Degree in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.
This program was a game changer, transforming the way I approached my life and my patients. It gave me the gift of time to develop a sense of conscious awareness, and allowed me to find my own process to reflect on and move past the most difficult experiences. It allowed me to experience my daughter in a new way, finding delight in her young eyes and enjoying her curious nature. It allowed me to see parts of myself that had shaped my journey and showed me the qualities that made me unique.