Since I have started working again I have noticed there are a few correlations between what I do now and home educating.
- Individual attention. I have two patients and so I am able to concentrate only on them.
- Specialization. It takes a special skill set to work as an ICU RN. It also takes a special skill set to homeschool.
- Continuing education. You are always learning as a nurse and as a home educator. If you aren’t learning in either role then something’s wrong.
- Critical thinking. You must constantly evaluate test results and assessments, put clues together and think three steps ahead.
- Caring for the whole person. As a nurse I don’t just care for a person medically. I also care for their spiritual well-being and their soul as well. As a home educator the same is definitely true.
- The little things matter. What I do–or don’t do– can make a BIG difference. And little changes in my patient can mean big things down the road. Noticing subtle changes in your children can also make a big difference down the road.
- Caring for the vulnerable. It is my responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves. They are counting on me to know what to do and how to do it. I also have to teach them things they need to know until they are well enough to take care of themselves. I feel it is my responsibility to not just make sure they are still alive when I go home, but that they are well cared for, that I do all I can to make their lives better.
- You can’t do it alone. No man is an island. We aren’t created to be isolated. Teamwork is important, even within families. Don’t be a martyr or a victim. I need help turning, double checking and sometimes just reinforcing my gut feeling when dealing with patients. Home educators can’t be lone rangers. You cannot be everything your children need all by yourself.
- They aren’t with us very long. My patients move out of ICU ASAP. That’s a good thing and as long as they are in my unit I want to make sure they are well cared for. Our children aren’t with us long either. Before you know they seem to move from toddlerhood to high school!
- You have to love it. You’ll burn out. You won’t do a good job. Those whose care you are charged with will resent you. You can make silly mistakes because your heart isn’t in it.
They are both critically important roles, and both extremely rewarding as well. When done right, they make a difference in the lives of the individuals in our care.