What I Learned When My Patient Fired Me


When I tell others that one time a patient fired me, I usually hear "I didn't even know you could fire your nurse!" Well, you can. It's not very common (at least at my hospital) and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're having a really hard time with your nurse. Sometimes people will ask for a new nurse immediately, and other people will wait until your shift is over and request to not have you again. 

The second situation is more common and is how I got fired. The particular night I got fired was an off night for me. I had just come back from having two weeks off, had a really busy patient assignment, and definitely missed a couple of things that I shouldn't have missed. I did my best to fix what I missed (both things were not a big deal and were fixed a couple hours later), and apologized several times to the mother for my mistake. I almost expected to be fired and, sure enough, when I arrived at work the next evening I learned that the mother had requested not to have me back. This was my first time getting fired (and hopefully my last!) but it taught me three important lessons I hope we all can learn from. 

We all need a little grace. 
Everyone makes mistakes and, though we all know this, it can be hard to remember when those mistakes are concerning you or someone you love. I am so thankful for the grace that Jesus extends to me, but for me extending grace to myself and to others can be a challenge. 

In this situation, I was struggling between learning to give myself a little grace and wishing that the mother had extended me a little bit of grace. Extending grace to others, especially when they hurt us, is so hard yet so necessary. I find that the closer we allow someone in, the harder it is to extend them grace when they hurt us. The next time you have to extend grace to someone around you, remember that should you be in the same situation one day, you would want the same kindness extended to you. We all need a little (or a lot) of grace sometimes; let's be a people willing to give that to each other. 

Learn to forgive yourself
I'm a typical oldest child- driven, type A, and a wanna be perfectionist. Accompanying those traits is the tendency to be really hard on myself. It's much easier for me to ask forgiveness from God or from those I've hurt than to forgive myself. Getting fired was the ultimate test in forgiving myself and letting the situation go. I was reminded in a very real way of my humanity and my inability to be perfect. The following days after getting fired, I learned a lot about the need to forgive myself and remembering that I'm only human. It is certainly easier said than done but there is sweet relief in releasing yourself from the perfectionist standard and forgiving yourself when you make mistakes. God doesn't expect me to be perfect- why do I expect that of myself? 

We can't always please people.
I'm a people pleaser to a fault, so getting fired affected me pretty deeply. I know that I'm a people pleaser and finding the balance between pleasing others but pleasing God first has been a constant challenge for me. I'm the type of person who wants people to like me and the thought of someone not liking me gives me a knots in my stomach. We (I) need to realize that Jesus never lived to please others, but He lived to please His Father. However, I think swinging the complete opposite way of people pleasing and saying "It doesn't matter what anyone thinks of me" can be damaging as well. 

In this situation, I had to realize that I had done my best and it was the mother's choice to fire me. Often I take the choices of others and blame myself when, in reality, it is their choice. If I took responsibility for everyone's choices, I would have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Jesus never intended me to take this burden upon myself, and I have to remind myself that others have free will and their decisions are not my responsibility. Choosing to take responsibility over my own actions and let go of the decisions that other people make about me is a huge step in getting over the crippling effect that people pleasing can have on me. 

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It's been about a month since I got fired, and I can say that I've forgiven myself and truly let it go. Now it serves as more of a funny story when I tell it in person. It took a couple weeks to get to the point where was able to let it go and not think about it every time I went into work. From that single situation I learned countless lessons on grace, forgiveness, and remembering that if I do my best, the rest is up to God. 

(Sharing on Modest Monday and Tuesday Talk)

Have you ever had a similar experience? What did it teach you? 
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