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Celebrating Nursing


Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing. Has 29 years experience.

Each year nurses celebrate and recognize our profession. For me, nursing means more than giving pills and checking blood work. It has provided me with life skills that I cherish along with ever changing knowledge and great friends. The impact nursing has had on my life and person has been invaluable.

Celebrating Nursing

Stapling vinyl to wood, I contemplated my morning. Rushing to get the kids to daycare then speeding to my job at Wellcraft boats only to clock in late for the second time that week. I knew something needed to change.

The late 80s wasn't good for the boat making business, leading to layoffs and downsizing. Escaping the layoffs, I fell victim to my night shift being eliminated. Working day shift I cleared barely enough money to buy gas and a few groceries after paying for daycare.

Discussing our shared dilemma, my co-worker and I brought up going back to school. We were sick of working so hard and making so little. I knew I couldn't continue to work for gas money. That following week, we trekked over to the community college and collected brochures on programs we were interested in. Nursing caught my attention, so that is what I applied for.

By the beginning of the next semester I was in school working on my prerequisites. I was excited to quit Wellcraft and begin working on a better future for me and my family. I found a job that didn't interfere with my school hours - delivering newspapers.

For three years I took care of my two toddlers and husband while crawling out of bed at 2am to deliver newspapers then arriving home at around 6am to get the kids ready for daycare and me for school. During those years I took naps as often as I could and kept my eye on the end goal. Knowing that it would come to an end and I would be a nurse kept me going. Looking back, I realize that there are other careers that pay more, but nursing has been good to me. Nursing has impacted me as a person so many ways; it has challenged me, matured me, forced me think out of the box, fed my need to learn, given me stories that make me laugh and cry, and blessed me with the best friends anyone could ask for.

One of the core skills one learns in nursing school is therapeutic communication. I was one student who found this valuable in my personal conversations as well as those with patients. I found my voice in nursing school. Learning to effectively convey my thoughts and needs when time was precious helped me achieve my goals. Learning better communication came with the bonus of learning how to listen.

Not only does one learn to listen to bowel or lung sounds, but to words coming out of the patient's mouth. Listening and hearing what they say can at times mean the difference of life and death. With physical health aside, all patients desire to be heard. Patients appreciate it when we listen, make eye contact, acknowledge them, and provide feedback if needed.

Nursing has compelled me think out of the box. There are so many other belief systems and traditions in our world that it's mind boggling. My experience as a nurse pushed me to take a step back and think beyond my own system of belief. I learned to put aside my prejudices and opinions to validate my patient's input. In doing so grew me spiritually and emotionally.

Nursing has fed my innate need to learn. We all know how progressive the medical field is, with new medications and procedures popping up annually. Keeping up with all of that is made easier because of the internet at our fingertips, we can google anything we need to learn about.

Through the years, situations come up with co-workers or patients that make good stories. Laughing at ourselves makes the worst day better. Experiencing things together day after day bonds us with our co-workers and patients. For me, I hold those memories close and giggle at the ones that are funny.

There are day when I want to walk out the hospital door and not come back, but inside those doors are some people I care about deeply. Nursing has blessed me with some of the best friends I could ask for. There are a select few that I become best friends with, those that I can share everything with. My friends are a direct gift from God. They love me in my ugly not just in the pretty.

Lastly, nursing has taught me about life and death. Death comes too soon for some, and lingers on the unfortunate, but eventually comes for all of us. Because of seeing death come fast or slow to the old and to the young, I realized that I had to live for the day not just for the future. Being passionate about gardening, writing, reading, traveling, etc. I know that putting it off until next year or "when I retire" is not for me. Making time to do what I love allows me to really live, feeding my happiness. I look forward to being able to one day work less or retire, but until then, I want to experience everything I can today.

Nursing has not always been easy. Every time I get called out of my warm bed to go into work, I tell myself I need to find another job, but each time I get over it and put on my scrubs for another day. Aching back, sore feet and a screaming bladder have not kept me from appreciating what nursing means to me. Seeing the smile on a patient's face when they realize you heard what they said and acted on their needs to make their stay in the hospital easier is deeply rewarding. Putting aside the misconceptions I grew up with to grow as a person and a nurse to understand humanities' diversities, learning life lessons along with feeding my brain has made my choice to be a nurse one of the most satisfying decisions of my life.

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2 Comment(s)

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

I know this was from last year and I'm late to the party but I appreciate this. I have to deal with working a job I hate to pursue nursing as something I have truly fallen in love with. Thank you for this!

Brenda F. Johnson, MSN

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing. Has 29 years experience.

I know this was from last year and I'm late to the party but I appreciate this. I have to deal with working a job I hate to pursue nursing as something I have truly fallen in love with. Thank you for this!

Actually this was just written this year, thank you for your compliment and reading it!