Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

The Christmas Classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” is not only my favorite movie of all time but inarguably the most beloved and recognized holiday movie of all time.  It’s all about how the hero’s character, George Bailey, remains true to his beliefs, despite all that life throws his way.

Like all good movies, there is a villain — the evil Mr. Potter, who is the richest and meanest man in Bedford Falls (not quite to Darth Vader levels, but close … reeeeaaaal close.)

All George has dreamed about is becoming an architect and traveling the world. Each time his chance comes, however, something difficult happens that robs him of the opportunity. Potter is usually the cause. 

George, however, never sulks, never wallows in self-pity and especially never seeks revenge against the villain who has robbed him of his dreams. Instead, George’s impeccable character remains strong and he does the right things, remaining selfless throughout. 

Potter eventually does the unthinkable, which will bring ruin to the business that George runs and that protects the people of Bedford Falls. Potter’s actions will most likely cause George to go to jail for something he did not do. That’s when George considers the unthinkable: He ponders taking his life so that the insurance payout can save the business and protect the citizens’ future.

Along comes George’s guardian angel — Clarence, an angel Second Class because he hasn’t yet earned his wings. Though George promises (again, being selfless) to help Clarence get his wings, and agrees that throwing his life away would cause his loved ones pain, he still wishes he were never born. Clarence grants this wish.

The thing we ultimately learn is that moments in our life that we think are insignificant are actually very significant. We have no idea about how strong the impact is on others as we go about our day, every day.

Sure, as long-term care professionals you have skills, talent, ability and knowledge. But it’s still your character that leads the way. 

We probably won’t have a visitation from a guardian angel who can show us what our life would be like if we were never born. But during this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on what your daily impact is, and let your character shine a light in this sometimes-dark world. Just like George did.

Just keeping it real … wonderful,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.