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The Nurse

In honor of Nurses week, I have decided to write about my journey to the profession and through it. I decided to become a nurse on a whim. Prior to this decision, I was fixated on becoming a neurosurgeon, but that dream came to a sudden death on a cold Tuesday. In preparation for graduation, my high school teacher gave us the task of researching our dream careers and outlining the path we would take to make them come to fruition. While conducting this search I soon realized that what I considered to be my lifelong dream would cost me twenty years of my life to achieve.

As a firm believer of living your life rather than watching it pass you by, twenty years seemed like too much of a sacrifice and I quickly learned that I needed to pivot. This pivot did not happen immediately I must add. Sometimes when we are at a crossroads, the pressure to decide can make us feel like we do not have any moment to spare. Throughout my life, I have found it beneficial to acknowledge pressure while also allowing myself to not be overtaken by it. You might be facing a pressure filled moment; acknowledge it, take a deep breath then decide the way forward.

One day while driving with my father, I let him in on my thoughts. I explained that I was unsure of which path to take. I had received an acceptance letter to a university, but I did not know what I was going to pursue while there. He then said to me " I think you will make a great nurse." He explained his reasoning behind this statement and by the end of that conversation I had decided that I was going to pursue a career in nursing.

Now, with that mindset, it never occurred to me that not graduating was an option. My journey through nursing school was overwhelming but I was sold on the idea of becoming one so the only option I had was to achieve it. After graduating, I remember struggling to prepare for the licensing exam. I could not seem to move past the pressure that accompanied that studying process. Failing the exam was a possibility and from the results of my mock exams, it was a high one. I remember taking a mock exam and scoring a 47%. Well, I do not know about you dear reader, but it did wonders for my self-esteem; negative wonders I must add. Again, on a whim, I decided to schedule a day to take the exam. The day was Friday, July 13th, 2018. The day was in about a week and for the remainder of that week I could not bring myself to study.

The day came and I arrived at the test center with minutes to spare. I sat in my then green Ford pickup truck, said a prayer and walked into the center ready to face the goliath that was NCLEX. Now I have heard of horror stories about this goliath. Some say it was the hardest exam they had ever taken; some say their nervous system does not allow for any recollection of their experience. My story is one that is somewhat unbelievable- I thought the exam was ridiculously easy. I took a total of about 125/265 questions. Now I thought I had failed simply because I was traumatized by my mock scores. But on Sunday, I logged into the portal to see the green letters that read 'PASS.'

Ever since I received my license to practice, I have worked in various specialties. Each one was different from the other and they all helped me to discover more about myself. I recall a particular scenario where I worked in psychiatry, and it dawned on me how much suffering there was in the world. Physical ailments are seen as the primary epidemic of this country but there is another one, equally as catastrophic yet seemingly ignored - mental illness. I have also worked in long-term care facilities and that has taught me that our latter years may not necessarily be our best years. We need to put into consideration how we would like those years to play out whether we will be in good or bad health. Let us not put it off for a second longer than necessary. I have also worked in rural hospitals. Those experiences have illuminated a deeply known fact about me-I really like close knit communities. You know the ones that everyone is acquainted with and when you fall sick, they take turns to bring you hot soup to your bedside.

My nursing career has been one for the books. I have met many helpers along the way. I have made many acquaintances along the way. I have met kind patients and others who are not so kind. I have been denied because of the color of my skin and the flamboyance of my accent. Nonetheless, I would not trade it for anything else. This journey has been unique to me and gratefully, I have done with it as I have pleased.

To conclude I will leave you with this. While on assignment, I met a couple. Young and deeply in love, they were facing what seemed to be the hardest thing they had ever dealt with-stage four cancer. The husband, a young man in his forties, had recently received the diagnosis and unfortunately there seemed to be no solution to combat his fate. His wife, unable to come to terms with his prognosis, refused to entertain the looming conversation of transitioning him into palliative care. This meant that he would transition to hospice care.

The lady could not come to terms with the fact that her tall, intelligent and funny husband was dying. There is not much you can say to the two of them in such a situation so as a nurse, you do what you can to alleviate some of the burden. At times that came under the umbrella of a shower for the man, and a warm blanket for the wife. A fresh cup of coffee. Sometimes it meant sending her home with the promise of attending to his needs so she can have a few hours to herself. It meant paging the doctors for some of their questions and most importantly, as a believer, it meant prayers.

Eventually, they left the hospital but not before she thanked all of us nurses for being there for her and husband. She said she understood that not much had changed during their time in the hospital, but she was thankful that we provided companionship during the hardest days of her life. That is all some of us can do and many times and that is all that is needed.

Taking care of a gravely ill spouse, friend, family member, neighbor or even child can be taxing on the caregiver. It is a relief when someone stands alongside you helping you through it all. I do not know where this journey is headed but the ride so far has been a good one. This week is Nurses Week and I salute each nurse that has served and is serving in the healthcare industry. I see you. I appreciate you. May you receive double blessings for the endless sacrifices you have made.

2 comentarios

12 may 2023

Happy nurses week dear. We appreciate you!

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11 may 2023

Happy Nurses Week and we appreciate you daily. I hope you continue meeting wonderful people who will continue to appreciate your kindness and effort to make them comfortable.

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