Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do you really know what I do for a living?


I think some of the people in my life really do not understand what I do for a living. It's not their fault, it's just the way society has depicted nursing. And honestly, I had the some of the same thoughts about nursing in college when I started to think about changing my major sophomore year from Biology. "Who wants to clean people up all day? I don't want to hold babies and hands!" I remember actually thinking this. I had this "bandaid on your kitten" roommate, and I mean that in the most loving sense. She knew when she was a little girl she wanted to be a nurse. She was a nurse every halloween growing up and always was taking care of her little friends.
Looking back I shared the caring for others qualities, but it was mainly my little sister and brother:)
So if you were to tell me I would be a nurse I would have laughed and said absolutely not. I thought it was all happy 24-7 and co-dependent type people were into it who just wanted a life size doll (patient) to dote on. Sorry, just being honest...this is what I thought. Who knows where I got this idea, but it was there and it was solid concrete. Until.....
I had an amazing advisor who saw something in me that I didn't see. She encouraged me to just "try it out, I'll set up a shadow night for you and I know the perfect place." Very doubtful I agreed.

I shadowed a nurse on the night shift at Emmanuel Hospital in the Emergency room ( a level 1 trauma center). The night was electric and full of adrenaline. We had teenager come in with a broken arm from a car accident, a toddler with a high fever, and a little old lady that decided she was "over" taking her medications because she didn't think she needed them anymore. We had all these pots on the stove just trying to make sure they didn't boil over. I loved the chaos and the constant busyness.
Then the icing on the cake arrived (I know I am one sick puppy). A guy in his 40's came in having a heart attack. He was scared and knew just enough to be apprehensive of the 20 people shuffling around him trying to save his heart muscle. I was a student, no skills yet, not even a license to cover my crappy student skills. But I played a part in probably one of the most horrible scary moments in his entire life. I held his hand.
The one thing I had said I would not be doing....I just held his hand. And then and there I think I realized how much you can do with nursing. You can really be there for people. Not in a fake way, you can't fake it or you fail. You just have to have it in you to be there, at that moment and not think about it.

So back to some of my friends and family. They have ideas of back rubs, and handing out pills. But really I think I am so blessed to get to be part of someone else's life. Yes I give them pills, but I have to know exactly how that pill I hand them will affect them.
I meet them at 7am and by 8 I really know everything about them. They let you in without you even having to do any asking, it's a given .....they come to you for help.
And so I think I am biased, but I have one of the best jobs in the department of rewarding. Sometimes it's easy for me to take that for granted when I hear my friends or family talk about their jobs. I forget not everyone landed a job that gives you this kind of feeling....I am sooo lucky:)

2 comments:

  1. Yes, you ARE lucky...and so are EVERY SINGLE ONE of your patients.
    Your Mama

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  2. I've been in the hospital more times than I've cared to be but over those visits I've met nurses like you and felt very fortunate! I'm sure your patients feel the same way. There have been a few nurses that I didn't even want near me with their uncaring, snotty attitudes. And I have to say I have even reported a couple, like the one who took my leg DVT's preventers(whatever they are called) off to take me to the bathroom, left me, said she'd be back in a minute, an hour went by, another nurse came in, I said I was waiting to go to the bathroom. She said why are your legs things off (I've had DVT's in the past and even have an IVC filter because of them). Because so and so nurse was coming back to help me to the bathroom. She said she just left you like this? Yes, I had stomach surgery and am drugged, I sure couldn't undo them myself! So she says, well, she went off duty an hour ago. She got the head nurse and I filed a report.

    Believe me, patients appreciate the caring nurses. That you feel blessed to be a nurse makes you even more special. Take care.

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