I am not the hero I once thought I was.

My own "definition of 'nursing'" was my first assignment in nursing school. I wrote, I received a big fat ZERO! My view of nursing changed over the years, from one of pride to one of gratitude and humility. And continue to learn! Nurses Announcements Archive Article

I am not the hero I once thought I was.

Summer 2000, Alexandria, Virginia. Excited beyond all reason! I was finally in Nursing School, at age 30. I'd entertained the idea of nursing before, but didn't believe I was "smart enough". After three semesters of prerequisites with straight A's, I had hit the big time!

So, Nursing 105, Day 1. Listened to a seasoned, Nursing instructor convince my class we were too stupid, too frail, and could count on vast mistakes, thereby being named in lawsuits, so why even try? And at the end of the day, we were given our first assignment: Write our own definition of Nursing.

Well, I had that one! I was going to go down in history as a compassionate, astute, wise savior of the sick. I blew myself up in the whole two paragraphs, and received No Points! As "this is NOT a definition of nursing!", stated the teacher. Well I had looked up "Nursing" in Webster, so of course I knew better. "Nurse" comes from "nourish" and I could nourish.

Of course the first semester droned on, my hand shook so badly in the first lab practical- injections! - that my instructor had to steady it! (She shared this with subsequent classes.) I was late to my first and second clinical. I had to re-mediate in the use of a mercury thermometer. And so on. Even so I made A's in my classes and started to make some friends.

The first semester break was so welcome! Family, relaxation, and no tests for which to study!

December 30, I left my job at a Maryland hospital and was assaulted.

As a result of this, I became pregnant. And discouraged.

After my first doctor appointment, I headed to school to practice I.V.'s with a classmate. I was late, looked at her, said, "I am pregnant", and started to cry. She didn't say anything, didn't judge, just sat with me. (We didn't make it to the lab that day!) She just "fed" me.

A young gentleman classmate walked by, smiled and asked me to smile, as that would make his day. He walked on and I don't remember his name or even seeing him again, just that his smile and support "fed" me a lot!

After failing my midterm, I met with my adviser, and told her the truth. She said she knew something was going on. Then she said, "We can do this!" We. "You won't fail." And I believed her. Her support nourished me.

I come from a family, by the way, that doesn't tolerate self pity. If I was determined to drag myself and everyone down, my father would suggest I go upstairs and make a list of things for which to be grateful.

So, that became my mantra. Every day look at what is good. And things were good! The classmates who held doors for the pregnant student. The instructors' unending patience. Their help to make my schedule easy as possible. And so many kind words. They "fed" me.

The woman who wrote me a beautiful, caring letter, saying she "is just a phone call away." I still have that letter.

I was working on a Psychiatric unit on September 11. This was Northern Virginia, close to the Pentagon. I say that to say this, the clients on psych reached outside of themselves when we heard the news that day. Not one word of self-pity, only words of concern. What an amazing lesson that taught me!

September 26, I went into labor. A classmate missed a test to sit with me the whole time! I received baby clothes and three typewritten sets of notes from different classmates. And I knew baby "Grace" was entering a wonderful world.

Now I have been a nurse for 8 years. My definition of nursing hasn't changed. "Nursing" comes from the word "nourish". But at the end of this story, I am not the hero I once thought I was. Other people nourish and give, and I learn, every day. My cup has been filled many, many times over.

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Specializes in Oncology&Homecare.

You had many reasons for bitterness and self pity but you did not succumb to either. Your story is inspiring. You are a lesson is perserverance and love. Congratulations on your triumph over harsh circumstances. I think you have found the definition of nursing and it fits you like a glove. :nurse:

Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for giving birth to your daughter. What the evil one intends to harm us God can use to bless us.

You fed me with your wise words. star.png

Specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

Your article brought me to tears. You are indeed an inspiration for paying forward gifts of kindness and love.

Thank you so much for writing and posting this!

Thanks, yall, for your kind words.

For the record, I can now give a shot with a steady hand!


gracedRN, what a beautiful, touching story. Although our jobs are to heal and mend bodies, it is far more rewarding to heal someone's heart. The healing power of kindness and genuine concern outweigh any medicine we have.

SO nice to read an inspirational story with a happy ending!!! Thank you, thank you.

Your story is now my inspiration to strive harder in the Nursing Program. I'm a junior nursing student and I feel like I wanna be the next Florence in the contemporary world...just a dream anyway. Smile...

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

I love your story it is so inspirational, a great way for me to start the day.

Thank you so much for sharing

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro).

I'm sure it's not fashionable to disagree with such a nice post, but I'm afraid I must. You are a hero.

All I can say is WOW! Your story is such an inspiration. I am finishing my prerequisites and hoping to start the RN program in August of next year (I will apply in January). I am SOOOOOO terribly nervous about the program but anxious for it to get started too. You overcame such adversity and still succeeded and are now a nurse. I love the story and am so proud of you. This has shown me that anything is possible with perseverance and a positive outlook. I wish you continued success. And I couldn't agree with "nursemike" any more, YOU ARE A HERO!

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience and you truly are an inspiration! May you have many more blessings in your life!

two simple words: your awesome!