I’m a couple of days late to be writing about Nurses Week, but being a nurse, I couldn’t let it completely pass me by without talking about my beloved profession. I believe that the nursing profession, along with all professions that are in human services, are something special. Some of the other jobs that come to mind are of course nurse’s aids, teachers, social workers, and community leaders to name a few.
Sometimes the nursing profession seems thankless with lots of listening to people’s problems and complaints, collecting truly horrible mental pictures that will always be burnt into one’s memory, and putting one’s gloved hands in gross, unspeakable places. The fact is, more often than not when nurses do something really awesome for a patient, like make a clinical decision that saves them from a heap of suffering and even possibly death, they’re completely oblivious to the fact. As a human being, it’s easy to be like, “Look at me, recognize me, I just saved your life,” but that would be really obnoxious.
When I was a young, new, and naive nurse it would bother me if my patients didn’t love me, and didn’t say so. I was definitely looking to my patients to validate my worth as a budding professional. Not to say that bedside manner and establishing a rapport with patients isn’t extremely important, but professional self-worth needs to first come from within. In nursing, at the end of the day it’s about doing my job well for the benefit of my patients. My professional worth is first defined by sharp clinical skill, advocating for those in my care, and the courage and tenacity to do what’s best for them.
Over time I’ve learned to recognize in myself what my patients don’t always recognize and I’ve allowed that to be enough. This has made me a better, more confident clinician. And funny thing, my patients seem to like this self-confident version of me better.
There are moments when people say thank you, or even write me a note, both of which I treasure. Admittedly, I’ve saved every thank you note a patient ever gave me and I read them during times of discouragement. They help me to remember that I chose to do my job well because people are depending on me. This is true of anyone who works in human services. Every day that we go into work, we have the ability and choice to make other’s lives better. So thank you to all of the nurses, nurse’s aids, doctors, teachers, social workers, and public servants for what you do for individuals and for my community.
Today’s recipe for Spring Lamb Stew is a fresh and earthy stew that fills and nourishes hungry bellies.
Spring Lamb Stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds cubed leg of lamb
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 C red wine
- 6 C chicken broth
- 3/4 C kamut
- 1/2 C small diced carrots
- 1 C small diced turnips
- 1 C frozen pearl onions
- 1 C small diced Asparagus
- 1 C frozen peas
- 2 C fresh spinach
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt to taste
1. For this recipe I recommend using a dutch oven. There’s something about meat cooking for an hour or two in a dutch oven that results in amazingly tender and flavorful meat, but if you don’t have a dutch oven this recipe can be made on a stove top in a large, covered pot. To begin, melt your butter in your chosen pot, coat your lamb cubes in flour and then brown on each side. This will take about 5 minutes.
2. Add your herbs and garlic to the pot and cook for 1 more minute, then add 1 cup of red wine and simmer for three minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth and kamut to the dutch oven, cover, and place in a 325º F oven and cook for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a dutch oven simply simmer your stew on your stove top over medium-low heat.
4. After 30 minutes have passed, add the carrots, turnips, and pearled onions to the pot, then return to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, checking on the stew and stirring it every 15 minutes. It’s finished once the lamb is beginning to fall apart and the kamut has a popped appearance.
5. Once the kamut and lamb are done cooking, add the remaining vegetables to the pot and return it to the oven for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar before serving.