Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I want to be a nurse

Every semester...they ask..."why do you want to become a nurse?" The answers range all over the map but there are several repeated over and over. "I want to help people" "I like medicine" "The money is good and it has job security"

All of those are true for sure but the answer to that question is so important to future nurses. It's an answer we should never forget, but unfortunately it happens.

The answer to that question when I was in first semester went a little something along the lines of me always being interested in the medical field because of my mom, and the desire I had to learn and be immersed in that fascinating world.

The answer to that question when I was in second semester changed. During my clinical experience I took care of a patient that was very ill when I was caring for him. He happened to still be in the hospital when I returned the following week. He was doing much better and I stopped by to say hi. He genuinely thanked me for everything we did to help him. In my head I was thinking, gosh...we didn't do that much. Then I realized. What seemed so little to me was huge to my patient. That moment sums up why I want to be a nurse. To make those little moments improve the lives of others.

The answer to that question once again changed. In third semester I found my calling. I had always said I wanted to work in one of a few places: labor and deliver, pediatrics, or the ER. We experienced all three during this semester and I learned so much about myself. I learned that I can't handle pediatrics. I learned the ER is just as awesome as I thought. I learned that the one place I want to be forever is by the side of a laboring mom. Getting the privilege of cheering her on, offering encouragement, and sometimes a hand to squeeze. To be a part of the process of birth is the most gratifying, beautiful, wondrous thing. To watch the faces of two new parents as they lay eyes on their child for the very first time. There is no better place to be. I will never forget the first delivery I attended as a student. I will never forget that baby's name or the look shared between his parents. I want to become a nurse because I genuinely love my patients. I want to encourage, I want to be there when a hand needs holding, I want to share my passion for all things pregnancy and birth, I want to make a new mom or dad's lives a bit easier, I want to be the ears that listen to fears and the words that soothe them, I want to be the one who reassures. I want to be the pillar in a new unsteady place. When you find your passion you know it. A part of your heart seems to physically ache when you are away from it. Every day I work I have to walk past the labor and delivery unit. I feel that pull, I know where I belong, I know where I'm supposed to be without any shadow of a doubt.

I'm in my first week of fourth semester now. It's the final one. It was not in school where I had yet another momentous experience, but at work as an extern. I met a patient who was me. A young lady who needed my help. A young lady who I understood so fully when nobody else could. She was me and I was her. I firmly believe I was put in her room for a reason and this was it. She knew she wasn't alone in the world and somebody else had walked her path before. The look in her eyes will never leave my brain. The look of being understood, finally. I held her hand, gave her comfort, helped her understand what she needed to do next. I hugged her. I cried with her. I listened to her. I may not have changed her life in just one day but I became a part of it. I hope my touch started a ripple. Of course I don't know what happened after she left but I know I still think about her and pray for her every single day.

 On December 12th I will be standing on a stage while somebody (I still haven't picked who yet) places a pin on me signifying my completion of the RN program. That little pin represents every tear cried, every minute spent away from my children and husband, every pound gained, every victory dance, every breakdown, every hour spent studying, several hundred gallons of coffee, and the blood, sweat and other bodily fluids on my shoes that were not my own. That little pin represents all of the hard work I have put in because I want to be a nurse.

These experiences can't really be put into words very well. They do not fit neatly into a little box of why I want to be a nurse because there is no way to confine what it is to be a nurse. These experiences and many more like them are exactly why I chose this profession. Nursing is a science and an art. It is a profession of compassion, skill and dedication. It can only be described in human experience and emotion, not words.