Nurses and Fibromyalgia

” The greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel” , Florence Nightingale

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. I loved the above quote but knew not what that word meant. It makes so much sense to me now as the world is certainly spinning out of control and it is the hyper-sensitive, traumatized person who suffers the most, especially if she or he works in a high stress environment.

This week we celebrated the birthday of Florence Nightingale and I am reminded of the many nurses who write to me on this website suffering from fibromyalgia. There is little doubt that Nightingale herself was plagued with this condition. Those who do their work as a responsible caring person live with the daily suffering and the trauma of others. While absorbing the pain of their patients they are often living with their own.

Those of us with fibromyalgia have an over abundance of empathy. It is not easy to disregard the emotions of others; we always anticipate the needs of people in real or perceived distress. Nurses are at the forefront where fear and anxiety are paramount and living with fibromyalgia intensifies the daily challenges. As patients suffer from anxiety their struggles are inter-meshed with their own. Oftentimes it is impossible to separate the two.

I have just completed a book about nurses in training in the 1950s and it is currently at the printers, due for release in June, 2018. This book describes the lives of student nurses who worked under harsh conditions while working/studying to become RNs. They are stories of the difficulties these women experienced during their three year training period. The devotion to their profession and the uncomplaining ways in which they did their duty is awe-inspiring. Nurses exemplify the best of human qualities. But sometimes their own emotional capacity is overwhelmed and too anxiety provoking. While this book is not at all about fibromyalgia, nonetheless it does exemplify the intense devotion to the caring work of those who make up the vast numbers of health professionals. Nurses are unsung heroes and heroines.

About Barbara Keddy

I am a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. My B.Sc.is in Nursing while my MA. and Ph.D. are in Sociology. I am married, a mother and grandmother living on the east coast of Canada. I have personally lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I published a book with iUniverse in 2007. This book detailed living with this condition and allowed the voices of twenty women who have fibromyalgia to tell their stories.
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5 Responses to Nurses and Fibromyalgia

  1. Lois Roelofs says:

    Congratulations on your book, Barbara. The cover could be me in my nurses training in the U.S. from ‘59 to ‘62. I talk about some of those same stresses in my book, Caring Lessons. Doctors yelling at us, exacting standards on how to make a bed, caring for a patient in the middle of a large ward with everyone else staring at us…it’s amazing we survived! But I did. But so did I get fibromyalgia in later life. Thanks for the work you do to educate all about this life-altering condition.

  2. Hi Lois: How lovely to know we are almost of the same vintage and the ways in which our nursing days have contributed to the development of fibromyalgia. Those student days were horrific and little wonder many of us have stored those traumatic remains in our memories and how easily they are triggered.I was excited to hear about your book. Tell us more about it- where available etc? I am donating the proceeds of my book to the Sara Corning Society of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. In this era of removing statues of men it is important to remember the contributions of women and especially nurses. Do google Sara Corning, a nurse and great humanitarian from Nova Scotia!
    Sincere best wishes to a fellow nurse!
    Barbara

  3. Congratulations Barbara on achieving this latest milestone! I know your book will reach an enthusiastic generation of nurses who trained in the 1950s, no matter where that nurses’ training happened to be.

    I am not a nurse, but I have a number of nurse friends (now retired, like me) and almost all have memorable stories – some wonderful, some funny, and some downright appalling! – from the ‘good old days’ when, as teenagers, they first moved into the hospital’s Nurses’ Residence for a 24/7 immersion intensive which would prepare them for their future profession.

    Best of luck to you in this latest publishing adventure!

  4. Dear Carolyn: Thank you so much for your comments over the years and your amazing website which is such an amazing source of information for all women, with or without heart disease.
    Barbara

  5. Pingback: Nurses And Fibromyalgia – Personal Health Life

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