They go about their business every day, performing small, sometimes menial, but always necessary tasks that form the first line of defense for our quality of life.
Nurses, caregivers and first responders — theirs is a profession organized solely around giving small acts of care and healing to our fellow humans.
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Now, since no one executes a skin stakeout like a good nurse, I’m giving it up for the beautiful people in the nursing profession this week.
It's often the smallest acts that can give us the greatest benefit — much like our ideas about skin care for the body — so let’s do this: There’s much to learn about caring for our skin from those who care for others.
They are our brothers, sisters, nieces, friends — and in my case, my mother and my friend Laura Taylor (pictured below and caring for her baby sis Kate).
They walk among us, but in truth, more is forgotten about their role in the drama of caring for us than is remembered.
Masters of the art of sneaking a peek, checking vitals, reading signs and thinking about the end at the beginning are all things first-year nursing students learn.
It seems only the bad ones make headlines, though, while few of the good ones are appreciated beyond their moments of impact.
My simpatico with nurses is rooted in how often they are the first line of defense when we are most vulnerable — guardians who care for us and the ones we love.
They’re trained to approach the body with holistic thinking, engendering wisdom and respect for its undeniable unpredictability and waywardness.
And yet nurses dispatch their duties under intensely stressful, even unimaginable, circumstances (burnout and bedpans notwithstanding) — let alone being caregivers who care for themselves.
Just imagine being on your feet for hours at a time, working in shifts where anything can happen, with little praise or fanfare, save a few pink ribbons, red hearts or rainbows.
Talk about grace under pressure. Their work is performed with precision and focus behind the scenes, with little to no spotlight or glory for the lasting results their actions actually make.
Amid the glitzy glam of makeup, brow and hair care products snatching up headlines, it's the oft-overlooked body lotion that makes a real difference in how we feel about the skin we live in and the beauty we possess.
Beauty is such a misunderstood presence in our daily lives, especially under the influence of an industry bent on superficiality, youth and celebrity.
Indeed, appreciation for bare skin care and nurses alike is fickle and fleeting, even though what they protect would fall apart without them.
Yet, by simply paying attention and being there, we get so much more from their small acts of care than what is obvious.
So however you do it — hug one, love one, thank one — let’s salute these attention-paying, care-giving and life-saving professionals.