Both sides now.
Subject: Nurses (Personal narratives)
Pub Date: 01/01/2012
Publication: Name: CANNT Journal Publisher: Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses & Technologists Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses & Technologists ISSN: 1498-5136
Issue: Date: Jan-March, 2012 Source Volume: 22 Source Issue: 1
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Persons: Named Person: Beliveau, Lee
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Canada Geographic Code: 1CANA Canada
Accession Number: 283970447
Full Text: At the wise age of 20, I chose a song for my nursing yearbook. It was a chance to express a piece of myself through the type of lyrics I liked. The song was "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell. It was 1971. Joni looked at love from varied perspectives. She pondered the clouds, how they looked different from alternate angles. She concluded that life itself could be viewed in different ways and that she didn't really understand it all.


The previous year I had lived in the big city of Montreal. My experiences included three months in psychiatry, learning how to time contractions and deliver babies at the obstetric affiliation, as well as looking after very sick children. I also wrote my first poem.

Many years of life have flowed past since then. Marriage. Crisis. Major moves. One child. Divorce. Mortgage. Motor vehicle accident.

Nursing was a constant through it all. Forty years' worth. Specialties of surgery, ICU, cardiology, pacemaker clinic, office nurse, chemotherapy, gastroenterology, day care, hemodialysis and palliative care.

Colleagues I will never forget.

Patients who opened their souls in trust of my listening ear.

At age 60 I can look at life from many sides now. I have witnessed, as you have, a host of human trials and have celebrated the resources people have within themselves.

There have been dark sides, as well as moments full of light.

Work like ours takes a great deal of energy. Energy that needs to be shared out evenly over the factions of your life.

In retirement there is time to rest. To take stock. Were there ways I could have managed my health, my family life better? Where do I want to spend my energy now? I'm beginning to explore, keeping my eye on any doors that may open. At this point, I'll be likely to have some common sense and enough battery recharged to make some wise choices.

I wish you all good health and life with time built in for balance and personal growth. Perhaps one of you will continue with this column to tell the matters of the bedside...

If so, just let the CANNT editors know.

Many thanks to Gillian Brunier, a tireless supporter of enhanced professionalism.

Lee Beliveau, RN, CNeph(C), former staff nurse hemodialysis unit, Surrey Hospital, Surrey, British Columbia. Now retired.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.