When I was a kid, we went back to school in September, after Labor Day. I attended a two-room country grade school that graduated four students from the 8th grade in 1964. But now our children are often heading back to school in August! Buying school supplies usually means getting a new backpack and lunchbox, maybe some new clothes and now includes hand sanitizer and maybe masks. Now that I’m older and retired, I have a different perspective on “going back to school”.
Through the years I have been blessed with exceptional grade school and high school teachers. I can even recall many of my Sunday School teachers and the lessons taught in our Vacation Bible School. Never doubt your importance on the young people you teach; you may be part of their best memories as they grow older!
Then I enrolled in college taking nurses courses. Again, I was blessed with smart, caring and competent nurse educators. Perhaps my “turning point” memory was that of one of my first year nursing instructors, Mrs. M. My instructor entered my patient’s room while I was giving her a bed bath. Mrs. M. was quick to comment that my patient’s Hemovac (a device that creates suction to collect body fluids) was inflated, not compressed as we were taught in our nursing lab. I said to my instructor, “Yes, I deflated it twice, but it just keeps expanding,” at which point my instructor gently handled the tubing connecting the Hemovac to my patient’s side and to our surprise, the tubing had come out of my patient’s body. Mrs. M. turned to me with big eyes and just pointed to the doorway. We covered my patient and said we would be right back.
Out in the hallway, Mrs. M. said nothing as I immediately understood the physics involved. We called the doctor to report that the patient’s Hemovac had fallen out of her body (usually held in place with a couple of sutures) to which the physician said, “It’s ok, it was ready to be discontinued.” I was so grateful that Mrs. M. chose to counsel me privately and not correct me in front of the patient. I learned two things that day: to investigate further when something isn’t working right and to be careful in my manner if I am the teacher. It was a tactic that I much remembered and utilized in my own practice as a nurse and later as an adjunct nursing instructor.
One of my most cherished memories as a nursing instructor was supervising a student nurse on how to start an IV on an actual patient. The very next semester I happened to observe that same student, now a Registered Nurse working in the same hospital, showing another student nurse how to start an IV. God allowed me to experience the miracle of teaching coming full circle.
Somehow our Lord has shown to us His grace that is unearned, yet greatly appreciated. For every teacher, whether kindergarten or university professor, I pray for that same grace to be extended to every student in schools, churches, or in our everyday living. How simply a kind word, an encouraging comment, or noticed accomplishments can create a cherished memory.
Written by Sherrill Gramse I am a born-again, baptized believer in Jesus Christ that accepted the Lord as my Savior almost 50 years ago. I have lived in Northern Illinois most of my life but recently moved to Southern Illinois to retire and live closer to our two adult children. My husband, Harry, and I have been married 53 years this November. I am a retired registered nurse and my husband is retired from Caterpillar. We attend Cornerstone Church in Marion, IL. We love our life in Southern Illinois, our family, neighbors and friends, and our giant dog and three bossy cats.