How My Life Was Changed By One Patient

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    When I think about the patient that has changed my life the most, I am taken back to a time in my life where things really began to change for me. It was about 6 years ago, and I decided to leave my career in Business and take a CNA training course. Most of my family thought I was a lunatic, but my husband supported me every step of the way. He's always said he thought I was "nurse material."

    How My Life Was Changed By One Patient

    I began my CNA training which was conducted in a very large nursing home. Within the first couple of weeks, I met a patient who we will call "Sylvie" for the sake of her privacy. Sylvie was a very large woman, and required extensive assistance to be able to get ready for her day. She was also a screamer, and could be very rude and hateful.

    As I began the clinical portion of my training, I noticed that all of the other CNA's would request a section that did not include her room. I soon realized that this was simply because of how much time of their shift was consumed with taking care of Sylvie, and by Sylvie's meanness.

    As clinical's began, and I started taking care of Sylvie, I found it hard to do all that I needed to be doing, but I refused to rush through Sylvie's care. I worked hard; I tried harder than I ever had before to show compassion and patience to Sylvie.

    Day after day of clinical's I bathed her, brushed her teeth, changed her, got her up, and put her down...all while listening to her mean and sometimes obscene remarks. It took every prayer within me to continue to show her the compassion that I knew she so desperately needed.

    My goal was to complete the program, and go on to nursing school some where in the distant future; however, after having taken care of Sylvie, I had come to the conclusion that maybe nursing school was just not for me. I wasn't sure if I really had what it took to deal with the "Sylvie's" of the world.

    Several weeks later I sat in the chapel of the nursing home facility, waiting for my CNA graduation to begin. My husband and son were there, and I was excited to finally be finished with the program, and totally unsure of whether I wanted to ever continue further in the nursing field.

    As I walked up on stage to get my certificate, I caught a glimpse of Sylvie out of the corner of my eye. I was shocked she was there because our instructors had informed us through class discussions that Sylvie was a very bitter woman, and that she had never came to a graduation, much less been civil to the CNA's.

    After the ceremony Sylvie wheeled herself over to where myself, my instructor, my husband, and son where talking. She told my husband that he should be proud of his wife, because I was the best CNA that she had ever had in her more than 10 years at the facility.

    She went on to say that she knew that someday I would make a wonderful nurse. My instructor and I both stood there with our mouths dropped open, because we knew this was a major compliment having come from Sylvie.

    It has been 6 years since that day. Life has brought ups and downs. I never made it to nursing school after finishing the CNA course because at the time my husband was in ministry school as well. But there was something about Sylvie's comment that day. Something that inspired me to dream bigger than I ever had before, and so here I am 6 years later, at the age of 34 in my first year of nursing school. I believe that if I was able to make a difference in the life of Sylvie, then I do have the potential to be a great nurse. I am excited about my future career as a nurse!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 16, '18
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  3. by   azmimi
    Dear rvnburton, I want to wish you all of the best as you pursue your studies. Your story moved me, there are many Sylvies out there, but also you will find that most people will value and appreciate the care you are trained and able to provide. I am a nurse who, after 44 years in a variety of positions, I still love what I do. I am still doing it part time and don't anticipate stopping until I want to or have to. Good luck and don't give up your dream, nursing will allow you to work in a huge variety of jobs, everything from teaching, sales, research, and of course, actual bedside nursing care, and that, at many combinations of hours and work programs. Again,
    Best Wishes in coming to nursing--34 is young yet!!!
  4. by   christinenurse
    I liked your story. How it changed with just one patient. Patients can either make or break your interest in nursing. What I gained from your story is that if your extremely passionate about something, you will look passed the "Sylvie's" and in the end you will see that the benefits overcome the hardships.
  5. by   jaclibra
    I truly admire your patience and perseverance in nursing care. You become an inspiration to so many who wants to be in this profession. Go girl and reach for the stars! Nursing is indeed a very noble service to humanity. Thanks for people like you who inforce the difference.
  6. by   brads7
    What a lovely story! I too am an 'older student (2nd yr)' (46yrs) when everyone else is thinking about being without their children and relaxing I am starting over! I have had a few Sylvies and a few that made me even more determined to succeed in nursing. I met 'James' (not his real name) in an acute medical ward, coming to terms with a stroke and the lose of the use of his lower limbs and his memory. His tears, the tears of his wife and the comfort that I know I gave them made me realise that nursing is the most profound and yet humbling profession one could aspire to.. good luck to you and your studies and when the assignments and exams get on top of you remember your 'Sylvie' and my 'James' and take a deep breath and say 'there for the grace of God go I'