Hello, Everyone I'm a graduated Nurse from EPCC I just wanted to share this with you, because it inspired me so much the writer is: BY SIR ENZYME
This is a discussion on So you want to be a nurse...
in Pre-Nursing Student, part of Nursing Student ... The other day, someone asked if I would recommend nursing as a career choice for him. I wasn't...
by Sir Enzyme
The other day, someone asked if I would recommend nursing as a career choice for him. I wasn't really sure how to answer that question. I stopped for a moment to reflect on the question, because I wanted to phrase what I was about to say without anything getting lost in translation. As I paused, it was as if a quick movie was playing inside my mind offering quick glimpses of my experience as an RN and a student. At the time, I wish I could have spent more time answering his question. I wanted to avoid the stock answer of, "if you like helping people, then go for it."
However, that is what I said.
Basically, what I wanted to say was this:
Nursing is hard, there is no way around that. First, you will start with basic science classes like Microbiology and Chemistry. As you cram for tests you will start to wonder why it is important to learn about aerobic and anaerobic organisms if you're not going to be in a lab with petri dishes. You'll wonder why it is important to learn about electrons and the periodic table, if you're not going to be playing with the elements. But you study anyway because that's what they require. Oh, and you better score better than a C+ because they will make you retake the course. But no stress though, you'll get one chance to retake the course... and be set back a whole school year.
Congratulations, you've now passed your first year of nursing school. Only now you have to take even harder courses with clinicals and labs on top of everything. Your first med-surg clinical - prepare to be overwhelmed. If you're not overwhelmed, then you're seriously advanced in your studies (or have prior experience). You don't get nervous usually -- but there you are scared out of your mind. Furious at yourself for sweating and shaking like you're talking to a pretty girl. Despite this you tell yourself not to give up yet -- you're already in too deep. So, you do what everybody else does and just try to not to screw up too badly. You act like an invincible sponge -- absorb everything you see/hear/do and let nothing pierce your armor. Old school nurses can smell incompetence and fear miles away and they will eat you alive if you let them. "I am a student, I don't know how to do this. However, if you can show me then I will promise to do better next time."
Slowly, you gain confidence with your role as a student nurse. You start to apply theory in a real life setting with real life patients. As you start to get comfortable, the end of nursing school approaches. The NCLEX is right around the corner, and while you want to party with your friends before college ends you will only be thinking about that massive life altering test that hovers on the horizon.
Congratulations again, you've passed the NCLEX and are now an official RN. You start to look for jobs but get discouraged quickly. As it turns out, many hospitals have lots of job openings -- for experienced nurses. But luckily for you, your mom knows someone who knows someone that gets you an interview. You go to the interview with your best suit on and sweat out the afternoon with the nurse manager grilling you about your character and job experiences related to nursing.
So you get the job! A couple days pass and you finally get ready for your first day. No more school scrubs for this guy, you've got your work scrubs on and official RN badge. Quickly you learn that literally nothing you did in college had prepared you for those first months on the floor. Paging doctors, doing ridiculously complicated med passes, drawing blood, placing IV's, etc etc etc.
Your first day without your preceptor you have a comfort care patient on a NRB with numerous family members at the bedside requesting your attention, but you also have a discharge pending with a patient eager to get home and a doctor that wants you to draw STAT blood on one of their patients. It seems impossible, but you soldier on and little by little you become more efficient at managing your time, the patients time and the physicians time. You've become a semi-competent nurse. At the end of the day, you come home and want to make a stiff drink. But you're too tired and haven't peed all day so you brush your teeth and go to sleep. Wake up 10 hours later and do it all again.
Does this sound like a career for you? Probably not. In fact, that doesn't seem like a great career for anybody.
What about that patient that was on the NRB, that eventually passed on your shift? You watched that patient from the time he came on your floor to the day his conservator made him comfort measures. You feel like you've known the patient for years- on first name basis with the family and their friends. They ask you what is happening, what can be done and how could this happen so fast? You offer your condolences, hold back your tears and pretend that you're strong.
A few weeks go by and you see the family member at the grocery store. She spots you, smiles and comes over to talk to you. Your eyes tear up at the memory of that shift, and you shuffle awkwardly hoping she doesn't notice. Once you meet, she says "I know I didn't say it at the time, but I just wanted to thank you for taking care of my father. I know that it was difficult having us there, but you were so strong and helpful that I don't know what we would have done without you."
In awe, you shrug and don't say much of anything. You say thanks, and that you're sorry that it had to happen. She starts to walk away, and without thinking you say, "I wish I had known him better, he was obviously a great man and better father." She tears up and moves towards the cash register.
You gather yourself, and wonder where they keep the Ramen in this maze of a store.
Or how about that time your patient has 10/10 chest pain, like an elephant sitting on his chest. You call the doctors and get the team in there. While you're going through the routine, getting nitro, aspirin, oxygen, morphine -- you completely forget that you're talking over the patient. You are ignoring the patient, a pleasant alert and oriented man from a nearby town. His roommate is beside him, also alert and oriented and watching the action. Once the chaos settles a bit, you realize the patient is talking -- not to you, the doctors or the other nurses. He is talking to his roommate about restaurants, tourism spots and pretty girls they once knew. The calming effect on the patient with chest pain is clear. He is distracted, and no longer cringing with pain that was so obviously there. For that split second you pause to watch the moment, the pure display of human kindness that was taking place. You vow to never forget that moment because in this world there is a lot of bad things, it is hard to remember when anything was ever good. When two strangers bond during a code, that is something special. And you won't see that working in a cubicle 9-5.
As you rush the patient to a higher level of care, he turns to you and thanks you. You wish him the best of luck. Even though you likely saved his life, you'll never see that man again. You check your phone, and have a text message from your friend saying he just farted and it really smells. You laugh, and think about how behind on your med pass you're going to be now.
As you get downstairs you round on your other patients, including the roommate. You pull up a seat to the bedside and look the roommate in the eye. Pat him on the back and say thanks for what you did the past hour. He looks at you confused, not sure what you're talking about. You look at him and smile, telling him that the patient upstairs said that he was so much calmer because his roommate kept talking to him. While it was not true that the chest pain guy said anything to that effect, it was an innocent lie. The patient lights up and smiles. You tell him it was a very kind thing to do, thanked him again and went on with your shift.
How about that one day you were running late. Your shift was over 30 minutes ago and you're bombing down the halls while your girlfriend is calling you asking why you're not home yet. You see a wheelchair down the long white lonesome corridor with a small girl in it. As you get closer you see that not only is she alone in the hall, but very scared. You smile, get down on one knee and introduce yourself. You ask her if she is here waiting for a test. She nods yes. You stand, go through the door to X-Ray and ask the tech when she will be seen. They tell you they're getting ready, about 15 minutes or so. Your phone vibrates in your pocket, your stomach rumbling because you haven't eaten since that poptart 12.5 hours ago and you contemplate leaving.
But you don't, instead you tell the girl it will be a few more minutes. She doesn't say anything. So, you ask her if she would like you to wait with her until she is ready for the test. She says yes please. You end up talking with the girl, who is in 5th grade, likes a boy named Brian and has a stomach ache. You make a joke about Dora the Explorer, she laughs but grabs her stomach. 15 minutes turns into 30, and she is finally wheeled in to the exam room.
Your girlfriend is furious, asks why you were so late. Too tired to explain, you say that you had to meet with your other girlfriend first.
Do you see yourself doing these things?
I do, and that is why I am a male nurse.