Nursing school was the goal, discovering who I am and the qualities I possess is what I received on the journey.
When I got out of high school, I went into college bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world, most importantly the medical world. Working at a hospital confirmed that I wanted to be the one soothing patient fears and calming family members down.
I wanted to be the woman pushing medicine into the IV and listening to breathe sounds with my brightly colored stethoscope. I knew that I was smart enough and held the patience and understanding that it took to listen to the teenager scared she was going to be a mother, or hold the hand of a dying 87-year-old.
My "AHA" moment was one that I will always remember.
I had just started as an EKG technician at a local hospital, was 19 years old, and had not experienced seeing death. A stat EKG was called from ICU, so I went up to the room and there laid a 37-year-old woman admitted with a brain aneurysm from a car accident.
She was still, looked like she was pretty warm underneath the air blanket and hooked up to life support. Being the technician, I hooked her up to the EKG machine; bloop bloop bloop, her strip was in sinus rhythm.
While getting her strip, I talked to her. It was 2 days before Thanksgiving, and I remembered that they always say that the patients can hear you if they are in comas; what could it hurt? I told her that everyone wanted her to get better and that I hoped she woke up to have a nice Thanksgiving with her family.
Once downstairs, the nurse called back and requested a stat echo. I hadn't been there for very long and didn't know why they needed that test, her heart was in sinus rhythm; a perfect EKG. The echo tech then told me something that I will never forget. "The patient has no brain activity; KODA needs the test to make sure her heart is ready for transplant".
I was stunned.
I immediately started crying and was so upset that I had to leave for the day. I had just spoken with that patient, well, I had spoken, and she just listened.
These moments come into our lives and make us realize the capacity that we have to deal with such tragic endings. I discovered in those very short hours that even though I had cried and been so upset, that's what makes great health care professional; it shows you care. And even after all these years, I still wonder if I was the last person to actually speak to her and not about her.
Now, after switching my major 3 times due to uncertainty and graduating with a degree in sports medicine, I am back to where I started 8 years ago, only this time I have student nurse after my name. I can only keep the hope and certainty that the same girl who spoke with that patient all these years ago is willing and ready to take on the nursing world, where there will be lots of Jane doe's who will need me to speak to them while they listen.