We recently celebrated Nurse Appreciation Month and National Skilled Nursing Care Week. That’s a lot of gratitude to unpack, and maybe think: How are you contributing? That is, how are you leaving your mark in this word?

Leaving a legacy means putting your thumbprint on the future, contributing to future generations. Most people want to leave a legacy because they want to feel that their life mattered. You can be assured that contributing to long-term care matters. It’s the type of legacy that gives your life meaning and purpose. 

I did a search of epitaphs on gravestones. Let me share some of them.

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:  Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. Only the good die young.

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, NY:  Born 1903-Died 1942: Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, MD, cemetery: Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.

Those are examples of the legacies you probably don’t want to leave. 

In a quote I read recently, I found clarity on what a unique opportunity we have in this field to leave a legacy. It said, “The things you do for yourself are gone, when you’re gone; but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” 

I know my life will only be as successful as the cause I attach to it. I am blessed to be a nurse in skilled nursing care. Do you feel the same?

Just keeping it real,

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.