As you look around, and see the familiar faces of your fellow nurses today, look past the image that you see everyday, look past any conflicts that you may have, and think about what defining moment in that person's life, made them decide to become a nurse, to decide to care for people everyday, day in and day out, working long hours, sacrificing their families for their education.
My defining moment came when I was working as a nurses aide, with an LPN, unlike I had ever met. She would hardly sit down her entire shift. Her face would be red, and she would have sweat dripping off of her, because she had been helping me on the floor when we were short staffed. She never cut corners, and always went the extra mile for her patients. I had asked her, why she wanted to work in a nursing home, why hadn't she wanted to be a real nurse and work in a hospital. I found that answer out for myself. One evening, I had brought all of the residents out of the dining room, and had laid all of them down, but one. This particular resident was a frail little lady, that was everybody's favorite. She had been gradually losing weight, and had been refusing to eat. This LPN was still out at the table, feeding her, I remember her saying," Come on Leta, one more bite, just for me," and Leta would take another bite, just for her. I knew at that moment that she was a REAL nurse, one with compassion, one that cared about the individual residents that she had built a rapport with. And at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to be just like that nurse that had enough patience to sit and feed a little old lady, a few more bites, knowing that she still had things that needed to be done before she could go home to her family.
That nurse was my sister, she passed away in 2001 with breast cancer. I am still striving to be that nurse, any time I want to take the easy way out, or take a short cut, I hear her voice saying, "Come on Sherry, go the extra mile, just for me."
Think back to your moment, remind yourself everytime that you are feeling burnt out, why you became a nurse, what got you to this point in your life, and celebrate the fact that you are a nurse and you are appreciated.
I wrote this for our inservice at work, interested in what your defining moment was..............
May 7, '03
I had known since I was a very small child that I wanted to be a nurse. Early on I thought about being a doctor, but for some reason, being a nurse kept coming back to mind. I felt that this was a calling for me, much like a preacher or missionary feels the calling. I dedicated my life to God for nursing when I graduated from nursing school back when. I never felt comfortable working in a hospital and spent 23 years of my 26 years of nursing in a nursing home. I had sworn when I was in nursing school that I would never work in a nursing home and that was the first place that I put in an application and felt right at home when I started working in the LTC field. I would not trade one moment of nursing as I enjoyed every minute of it. I really regret that I will never be able to nurse any more.
May 8, '03
As a small child I wanted to be a teacher but as I became a teenager I ended up being the main carer for my very young mother - who sadly died when I was 15yo. I think it was the deciding factor of my reasons for becoming a nurse, I could not prevent her death BUT was assured by family members that I improved her quality of life especially during the last 6 weeks.
It had a profound effect on all aspects of my life and truely believe than it has made me a better nurse, not just for my patients but their families too.
Yes it has an effect on my family BUT when you over hear your 5yo daughter explain to teacher "Sorry my Mum can not help with the school trip - SHE WORKS, MY MUM IS A NURSE" she sounded so proud. I know I made the right choice
May 8, '03
Okay... *deep breath* ...this is the first time I've "spoken" on this BB but I've been reading and learning for many weeks. I think you all are terrific, and you've all been a great inspiration to me...
I'm 38 and have spent the last 12 yrs or so working in journalism/marketing/PR. My two kids are 8 & 6 and I've spent the last 3 or 4 years trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. I've looked at other things but nursing keeps coming back over and over again. So I'm taking the plunge and will begin the British diploma in nursing (RN) in February, and am starting a job as a health care assistant (I think in the US that's a CNA??) next month. Big, big change, but the most exciting thing I've done since getting pregnant !
I spent 4 weeks in hospital (suburban chicago) when I was 12 for major back surgery. I was alone for the first time much of the time and enveloped in a plaster cast. I never once felt frightened or un cared for, and since then I've always felt safe in hospitals, even when visiting. I am determined to work my way up, learn all the "science" and clinical stuff I've not touched since high school chemistry, and make a real contribution.
I'm looking forward to writing "NURSE" on the "occupation" slot on the landing cards that as an ex-pat American I have to fill in each time I enter or leave this country!
THANK to all of you for your support!
May 8, '03
When i was 5 i had to have my tonsils and adnoids out. It sucked ... But there was this really nice nurse that helped a lot. We were talking about me being able to go home soon, but i had to eat my jello first. It was green ... not that that matters, but i remember it. She sat at the little round plastic table w/ me (ya know, those ones made for kids ... w/ the little kid chairs and everything) and told me if i could take just a few bites, for her, then i could go home w/ my mom. So i did ... They made me wait about 30mins, to make sure i could keep it down, i guess, and then sent me on my way. If it weren't for her, i might still be there
I did end up up-chucking it all in the elevator on the way to the car tho ... Oops
And then when i was 16 i was hospitalized for depression. There was this one nurse, Kim, who talked to me like i mattered. Like what i was going through wasn't just some teenage drama i was making up to make everyone feel sorry for me.
I want to make a difference like that. Like they did to me.
May 8, '03
As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse. They all looked so pretty in their white uniforms and caps, and I wanted that too.
When I got older, I knew I wanted to be a nurse because I have always loved taking care of people.
Now I work in LTC, and when the "difficult" patients reach up and toch my face with those little gnarled hands or say "thank you" or have a smile, just for me, I know I have made the right choice.
May 8, '03
when the "difficult" patients reach up and toch my face with those little gnarled hands or say "thank you" or have a smile, just for me, I know I have made the right choice.
I so agree what a buzz
Last edit by jevans on May 8, '03
May 8, '03
I am not yet a nurse or even in nursing school for that matter and don't have as "touching" of a story as everyone else that has posted here. But thought I would share anyway. I have wanted to be a nurse now for about a year now but my love for the medical field really started about 3 years ago when my grandmother was in ICU in a coma. My family and I were spending day and night there and I fell in love with the environment ( I know this sounds weird ) and the care that the staff was able to provide to my grandmother. And even when she died, the staff was still very compassionate and caring. Then, about a year ago, one of my dear friends became a nurse and I have learned so much from her and decided that nursing is for me too !!!
May 8, '03
I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. My parents said that as a very very small child when asked what I was going to be when I grew up it was always a Nurse. I started doing some volunteer work that also gave me school credit in a nursing home when I was in high school. Then, at the ripe ole age of 17 I left the security of my home and family and went off to nursing school. I have never looked back. My parents wanted me to stay one more year in high school, but I had all of my 'credits' and was ready to realize my dream. It has been everything I thought it would be and lots that I never even thought of. If I had it to go back and do all over again, I wouldn't change a single thing. I am a nurse first, and a person second. I love being able to help people and make a difference in their lives.
May 8, '03
Welcome, kermit27!! Glad to have you aboard! Your story was great, and I know you will make a great nurse!
I became an RN at the age of 46. I had always thought about it and really made up my mind when my brother became ill with brain CA. He went into Hospice and died 9 years ago at the age of 41. Those Hospice nurses were so GREAT that I just knew I wanted to be like them! I feel that my brother was "there" for me and helped keep me going when the classes were hard. I still keep a photo of him on my desk at work to remind me of why I am a nurse. I feel I am paying back the nurses who took care of Jim. I am a Home Health nurse and work some with Hospice too. I have never regretted it!
(I love ya, Jim!! :kiss )
May 8, '03
I grew up thinking I would be a teacher really....the one thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to work with people.
Well it ended up I did not go to the "big university" like I thought I would...(life changes you know??)..anyway, had a baby and got married...
It was at the time I delivered my first child that it hit me that I wanted to be a nurse. The L/D nurse that cared for me was so compassionate and NICE..(to never have had any children she was extremely sympathetic to the discomfort
Because of the care she delivered it sent me on the path to become a nurse. When my daughter was 1 1/2yo I started college..taking one course a semester towards the nursing program.
I have no regrets.....I love what I do..(yes even though I may complain)
Simply put...this particular nurse opened my eyes on what I should do.........I wish I could go back and thank her more than I did at the time I delivered a beautiful 8lb 13oz baby girl!!! I now realize how much that really means!!
May 9, '03
I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was 5 years old. There was no defining moment really, I just knew. I think that I am good at what I do. I try to come into work everyday in a good mood and I usually leave in a good mood. I feel that one should try to be in a good mood cause you have to be at work anyway so there's no point in being in a perpetual bad mood cause it just brings your co-workers down as well. And no one wants to talk to you if you are always in a bad mood!
I've never had anyone write a letter to the hospital commending me on my nursing care but I haven't had anyone write a letter complaining about my nursing care either. So, even if very few tell me that I do a good job, I know deep down that I do.
May 12, '03
Well, my story is a little different than all the warm fuzzies posted on this subject so far!
I decided on nursing school not ONLY because I liked the idea of helping people, but because I was a single mom with a 2 year old and I had to think about having a decent career with which to support him. I can't say "I always wanted to be a nurse" or anything like that, but I always did have a high respect for nurses and thought what they did was pretty cool!
I loved it and was passionate about it for a while, now it's a "job", but I still do my best for my patients. It's not a fancy story, but I would bet there are many more out there like me.