Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why I Became A Nurse



  Want to know a secret? I never wanted to be a nurse, in fact as a child I though it was one of the most horrible jobs in the world. I mean who wanted to do mean things to people like give them shots that made them cry, not me! As I grew older I viewed nurses as nothing more than mean spiteful people who were grumpy all the time in spite of earning a decent paycheck. So I never gave nursing a second thought as a career.

  So now you are wondering how on earth I ended up with the letter RN attached to my name and blogging about it? Well it wasn't really all that eventful, no major epiphany or light from above, it was necessity.  I was stuck in a sales job that just wouldn't pay the bills and my husband was getting nowhere with a real career, so we made a huge life changing decision. We moved from Canada to the United States and my husband began his studies at a large University. This means we came down on student visas, which basically only allow you to study, working was not an option. After a couple of months of sitting doing nothing I began to go crazy, I needed to do something. A family member offered to help me pay for school if I wanted to go back and get a degree, she suggested nursing. It was a logical suggestion as the degree could transfer back home and just about anywhere we went, so I'd always have a good career to fall back on.

  Nursing? Me, the one that wants to crawl under a table at the mere sight of a needle, as nurse. It was almost laughable, absurd really. Somehow I got talked into attempting the pre-requisites. It was terrifying going back to school at 30-somthing and facing my demons like math and chemistry. With a ton of help and patience from my husband I made it through the pre-requisites, but there was a waiting list a mile long for all the programs in the area. We decided I would enroll in a CNA course and get my feet wet to see if I really liked healthcare. It was love at first class. The weeks flew by and I found myself looking forward to every clinical day even though it meant dragging my butt out of bed at 5am. 

  The CNA certification allowed me entry into an LPN program which I loved even more. Though I will admit when we started learning to give injections my heart rate must have jumped into the 200's. After I graduated LPN school and received my license I was able to obtain a temporary work permit and began working in a long term care center for patients on ventilators. I loved my job. Many people find what I did depressing, many people in that place never went home, we often talked about the only way out of that place being "celestial discharge", but I loved it. I found so much joy in the talking to the residents, becoming a familiar and welcome face and a part of their routine and ultimately their lives. I also found great peace in caring for a someone in their last days, ensuring family and friends as well as the patient were together and comfortable for those last moments. When my work permit expired I returned to school to complete my RN.

  I now work in a local hospital. I didn't choose a big, shiny teaching facility, there are many here in my city. Oh no, I work, literally in an inner city ghetto. The neighborhood is slowly trying to fight it's way out of the depths of poverty and gang violence, trying to become a place where children can grow up without the sounds of gunshots and not fear playing outside. I chose this place because I can truly help people here, I can make a difference in their lives. I feel that if perhaps one person treats these people like people, tells a drug addict that someone believes in them or tells a little kid they can become a Doctor and not a gangbanger, that maybe they will believe it and believe in themselves.

  Why did I become a nurse? Because I needed a job. Why do I continue to be a nurse? Because I believe I can make a difference in peoples lives.

10 comments:

  1. I love this! Makes me wonder how many other people out there would love it if they tried it. :) But I'm glad it's working out for you! It's an incredibly valuable degree. Gives you a job AND the ability to save lives.

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    1. Thanks Anna. Honestly it's funny how many people I meet that would make great nurses but are totally scared of trying it. I always encourage them to give it a try if they think they really want to. You are never too old, and no fear can't be overcome. Funny part is I still have to do breathing exercises to bring my heart rate down when I get a shot. =)

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  2. I agree that through nursing you can make a difference. It's amazing how much someone's path can change by just having one person believe in them.

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    1. Totally agree with you Amie. I've seen it happen with a couple of patients and it makes my day when I see some of my former drug addict's come in clean and sober, just needing some attention for HTN or dialysis. I hate seeing them in my ICU but I tell them how great it is to see them clean. It makes them smile too when someone acknowledges that.

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  3. You are awesome! Really 30 something? Hummm... really thought you were younger than that ;-)

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    1. You and all my patients. The other day I had some lady get mad at me and say, "Little Girl I have Great Grand Babies older than you." I laughed and asked her if she started young to have great grand kids in their 30's. She looked like she didn't believe me.

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  4. I love your story! Reading everyones nursing stories are really motivating me to be a great nurse. I'm currently in the LPN program and will graduate next May! I am nervous, yet so excited. :)

    Newest follower here!

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    1. Good luck Samantha! You will love it and love being an LVN. It was such a rewarding time for me and it landed me some great experience that made my job hunt as an RN easier. You're going to have a ton of great stories to tell!

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  5. I found your blog from the link up. I too went to school for my CNA certification, then worked my way through LVN school. I had 9 days left and ended up having my Daughter March 26th due to preeclampsia, so I have to go back this fall and finish my last semester. I am so glad to see someone had to work as hard as I have and started at the bottom. Thats amazing that you chose a smaller hospital. And patients on vents, I give you props!

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    1. Thank Amanda. Vents are really scarey at first but when you get used to them the old ICU joke is "give me a vented patient any day". Vented patients have one nice perk, you know they will be breathing all night long!

      I'm glad to hear someone has worked up through the ranks too. It gives you SUCH a different perspective on nursing I think when you do. I never forget what it was like to be a CNA so I make sure I thank my aides and help them as much as I can. I think you'll find that it will really help you in the future too.

      Good luck on starting in the fall, for now enjoy your baby!

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