Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

As we head into a season of thanksgiving and generosity, I am so grateful for all of you. How you love every day. How special you are with your hearts of compassion and giving.

I was recently reminded of the parable of the good Samaritan. I feel certain there are versions of this story in many religions, but I am only familiar with the one in the New Testament, Luke 10: 30-37. 

One thing to know upfront about this story is at this time in Jewish history, a Samaritan was the lowest of the low in that current day class system. Kind of like the long-term care worker compared to the hospital worker. You know — how they were all lauded as heroes in the season of COVID and we were vilified.

So, for those not familiar with this story it kind of goes like this:

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest (a Jewish priest was a holy man who was looked up to and revered as being, well, like the head nurse of a metropolitan hospital) happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 

So too, a Levite (a Levite was the holy of holy men, everyone looked up to them as an example of what God expected people to do, so kind of like a hospital nursing supervisor), when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 

But a Samaritan (again, the people everyone looked down on), as he traveled, came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. (You get this right? Compassion overwhelmed him and he saw the need and took care of a man who needed care.)

The next day he took out two denarii (this was a form of money, so, basically, he is sacrificing something more) and gave them to the innkeeper. 

“Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” (Like in long-term care where we continue to care for people like family after we’ve taken care of the acute illness/conditions).

The Samaritan, through merciful actions, restores the human dignity of the anonymous man on the dangerous road. The parable reveals virtues such as compassion, mercy, solidarity, generosity and hospitality. It didn’t matter that the man from Jerusalem was different from the man from Samaria, a different race, a different religion, a different culture. He saw a need and as I said, compassion overwhelmed him. 

No one knows this Samaritan’s name, he wasn’t in the news, no one was standing outside the inn applauding him and calling him a hero. It was just who he was. Sound familiar? This is the difference you make in lives every day. And while no one may be giving you accolades, a higher power knows of your dedication and sacrifice. 

And I am profoundly thankful for you.

Just keeping it real (grateful),

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.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.