My husband is a geriatrician.

My oldest daughter first became a music therapist and then completed an accelerated program in nursing. She is passionate about caring for older adults, just like her father. She completed her master’s degree in nursing and is now working as a palliative care nurse practitioner in a very busy urban university trauma center.

With plenty of exposure to excellent nurses while receiving chronic epilepsy care and volunteering in an outpatient cancer center during grade school and high school, my middle daughter knew she wanted to be a nurse early on. A passionate advocate for good transitional care from pediatric to adult, she completed a PhD in nursing and works as a nurse scientist for a large university medical center.

My youngest was determined not to be a nurse. She looked at every other healthcare field and said she could not go into nursing because there were already too many nurses in the family. Helping with my father’s hospice care changed her mind and drew her to the profession. She now works as a pediatric bone marrow transplant nurse after expanding her horizons by working as a travel nurse for two years.

Around the Dinner Table, We Find Safety and Support

My father was a strong proponent of families eating together. Because my husband worked long hours, some occasions were easier than others as I tried to uphold that value in the family I built. I am sure we had medical discussions at the dinner table as our girls were growing up that might have been considered less than appropriate for polite dinner conversation. Over time, I think my daughters realized what a privilege it is to be a healthcare provider and that my husband and I were fulfilled with our career choices.

Holidays are tricky when there are so many healthcare professionals. We have all worked our share of holidays, and having everyone off on the same holiday is just not always possible. Now I settle if I get a meal where everyone is at the table at the same time, which may not always be on the actual holiday. When everyone could be together for two days in a row this Christmas season, I was beyond ecstatic. As my family’s resident photographer, I demanded a picture, which I will look at daily until the next time they are all in the same city at the same time, whenever that may be.

When my children sit down to dinner, it is as if they never left home. They talk about their careers and the challenges they face providing good nursing care. Their two husbands and fiancé are not healthcare professionals. They sit quietly at the table, watching and absorbing the banter. They do not completely understand it, but they are supportive.

Our Colleagues in Care ‘Just Get It’

Few are as fortunate as my daughters and I—we have a built-in support system in our family. We understand all of those feelings and stressors in each other. We just get it. My daughters know they can call any time, and they do. I often talk to my oldest and youngest daughters on their way home from work: They tell me about their day, and I marvel at how well my oldest manages the challenges of palliative care and my youngest very ill pediatric patients with cancer. My middle daughter will reach out when she is writing a paper, has a research question, or just wants to run something by me for my thoughts. They have called me in the middle of the night, scared after a needle stick or anxious because they caught a near miss and are terrified to think what would have happened if they had not.

Today, Thank the Healthcare Family Who Supports You

Where is your dinner table of support? Who is your go-to person who just gets it and listens? My husband and daughters support me, and I also have friends from nursing school, the workplace, and ONS who support me. They make all the difference in the world. Today, take time to thank your own support team.