I believe all nurses are made through knowledge and experience, but people are born with the personality to care, love, and nurture. Those are many of the qualities a nurse carries and it takes someone special to become a nurse. A nurse is someone who is selfless, treating their patients the way they would like to be treated, and has an overwhelming love for all people.
For anyone who meets me, they will see that I am a quiet person. I listen to others and observe my surroundings before I speak. Despite my shy appearance, I have always loved caring for people, putting others before my needs, and making them feel happy.
I am the oldest of 3 children. While growing up myself, I felt I held a lot of responsibility taking the initiative to look after my younger siblings and ensure they were taken care of. At the age of 16, I got my first job working as a dietary aide in a nursing home. I quickly grew attached to the residents and developed friendships with them over the years. It was heartbreaking to see anything happen to them. While I worked there for five years, I watched the nurses and assistants care for their residents. I truly admired their dedication and compassion but had not yet thought about becoming a nurse myself.
During my senior year in high school, I was the editor for the school yearbook and a youth correspondent for the county paper. I wanted to go to college to be a broadcast journalist. I thought that I was going to be the next Katie Couric just like many others dreamt, be on MTV's The Real World, and then live in a big house with my husband and 5 children. How realistic, right? I got into 4-year State University, which was my first choice and was on my way to achieving my dreams. I joined the University's student-run newspaper and television show. However, it wasn't until my advisor, a person I was supposed to trust to help guide me through these four crazy college years, turned around and told me that I would never make it in the journalism field.
That night I thought about the residents that I missed from the nursing home, how much I admired my nursing friends and came to the realization that I want to be a registered nurse. I want to be the nurse that people want to take care of their child or parent, to be a role model for others, and teach the world to make a difference. The first person I called was my mom and she told me, "Everything happens for a reason." I finished out the end of the semester, packed up my belongings and headed home to start working towards my new career.
I was so excited that I finally knew my place in the world. For the next 4 years, I worked full-time and attended school part-time at night. I was completing the pre-requisite classes needed to get into the local community college's 2-year RN program. Rumors went around from the pre-nursing students that the RN program was hard to get into, very competitive, and we had a slim chance of getting in. That made me work even harder studying to have the best grades.
During these four years, I became a medical assistant working at a family practice doctor's office. For my job I learned to perform vital signs, drawing blood, EKGs, injections along with many other patient care duties. With my medical assistant knowledge, it made me want to be a nurse even more. I enjoy patient care and feel comfortable being in the clinical setting. Patients would give me compliments about how my laid-back personality made them feel calm and more welcomed being at the doctor's office. It felt good to hear those warm words of gratitude and reminded me how much I wanted to be a nurse.
I also got married to a man who was an LPN. I met him at the nursing home I had worked at previously. Sadly, it ended after a year. We both were too focused on starting our new careers and where we were going in life to care about where the relationship was going. Although I was devastated about the split, I never lost focus on my dream. I continued to work and go to school at night to achieve my goal. I finally completed my pre-requisites and applied for the RN program in the January 2008. Nervously waiting for my acceptance letter to come, I got in April 2008 to start in the upcoming fall. When I received that letter in the mail, I screamed at the top of my lungs and then ran inside to tell my mom the news. I was one step closer to being a nurse.
Now I am at the end of my first year as an RN nursing student and love every minute of it. I have had some ups, downs, personal challenges and achievements over this first year. I have greatly succeeded in overcoming my natural timidness. I have taken care of a variety of patients through my clinical experience that I will remember for a lifetime. I have helped many perform their ADLs, strive for their independence, skin care, and back rubs, give their daily medications, hang IV bags, remove foley catheters, and teach about discharge instructions. My patients say how thankful they are to have me there taking care of them. They need someone there to talk to and let them know they are not alone. They also appreciate all the time I spend with them doing assessment along with explaining disease processes and procedures. This helps them have a better understanding of what is going on.
Looking back on my journey, I have no regrets with how I finally got to this point in my life. Everything happens for a reason and I wouldn't be the person I am today without taking all the side roads along the way. I look forward to the upcoming year and ready for any challenges that may come my way. One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from my mom. She said to me one day, "I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. When you want to do something, you go out and do it. You have driven person and work hard to achieve your dreams while working with a full plate in front of you."
Driven...a new nursing quality.