|My very first day as a "real" nurse (9-14-2009)|
-It is a selfless job. Other than being a mother, being a nurse is one of the most selfless jobs I can think of. You are at someone's (or 6 someone's) beck and call for the 13 hours you are there.
-Wait, 13 hours? By the time you get there early (I typically arrive 30 minutes before my shift to look up all of the info on my patients because the minute you clock in, it is all hands on deck), factor in your "30 minute lunch" that you typically take by making several different trips into the break room to heat and reheat your food with a few bites every time, and the time you have to stay to help after you give report because inevitably things hit the fan at shift change, you're lucky if you're only there for 13 hours.
-You have to be good at hiding your "grossed-out face". You clean up poop, pee, vomit, spit, snot, blood, spills... etc. and you're expected not to gag or act like it is any big deal... (thank God for carmex and face masks!)
-You can't be prideful to be a nurse. You get blamed for being 5 minutes late with someone's pain medicine because they watch the clock and know right down to the minute when they can have it. You suck it up and apologize, because they don't realize that you've been consoling a wife down the hall who just found out her husband has terminal cancer, or that you've been called to a code on another unit where a mother just lost her son, or you finally ran into the restroom because you haven't peed in 7 hours. Which brings me to...
-Every patient thinks that THEY are the most important patient. And I do my best to make every patient feel like the most important patient. You can have a hospice patient with a grieving family in one room and next door have a 10 year old with an appendectomy. You have to keep everyone and everything separate. I can cry with the first family and walk into the next room and crack jokes and laugh with the other family. It isn't cruel, it is how we cope.
-You have to separate real life and hospital life. I learned very early in my career that I couldn't take work home with me. I have had a handful of patients over my 6 year nursing career (including nursing school) that I still remember and those patients impacted me strongly, but typically after I leave work, I leave my experience there too, if not, I would be way too overcome with emotion to continue...
-Nursing is a calling. I have done it all. I've taken care of patients who've died on my shift, and I've been in rooms to help birth babies. I've rocked a newborn baby with jaundice so the new parents could get a little sleep and I've bathed ventilator patients whose family is begging God to let them live. I've held the hands of patients as they've found out they've been diagnosed with cancer, I've hugged mommas who've just gone through mastectomies, I've grieved with children as their parents have slipped away with Alzheimers and I have prayed with my hurting patients. I've been hit, kicked, pinched, called names, cussed at... and many many other things... but mostly, I've been told what a difference I have made in someone's life.
-That is why I do it. People every where are hurting; whether from emotional pain, physical pain or spiritual pain. God called me into nursing and He called me into missions. I've struggled with not being able to go to Mexico more often to do mission work, but I am just at a place in my life, with a family and little kids, that I can't do that right now. He has made it clear to me that my mission field is HERE. I used to be overcome with anxiety on my drives to work, and the Lord has cured me of a lot of that, but still, before every single shift, I ask the Lord to place me where people need Him. I try to bring Jesus to this lost world. Some days it is just with a smile, other days it is with hugs and prayers.
I made a bucket list on my blog almost four years ago. I just went back through and checked off a few that I have completed. A few stuck out to me more now than then, like #22. But a major life goal of mine is to make a difference in someone's life every single day, whether that be at work, at the grocery store or maybe even through my blog. I'm not talking about my family, obviously I make a difference in my boy's lives, I am talking about people who have nothing to give me, people I can just bless by being in contact with them by "divine appointment". In the last year, I have lost two people very close to me. One of the big things that was said of each of them is how much they made a difference in other people's lives. That's what I want to be said of me.
So, I am continuing on my journey of choosing joy and of being intentional... those are my thoughts for today and maybe that gives you a little more insight into who I am and who I am striving to be.