The Daughter, The Patient, The Mother, and The Woman

I remember being about 12 years old, when my mom got suddenly ill with a case of dysentery, being the eldest daughter I was assigned the task of staying with her overnight at the clinic. I had never seen my mom that sick before, yet the urgency of her state eluded me. All I knew was that we would go to the clinic, she would get some medicine and we would come back home.


A small cot was placed next to her bed, so I could sleep beside her. In the middle of the night, my mother's small voice called for me to get the nurses (no call button then), the foul smell invaded the room and it hit me hard enough to wake me out of my stupor, I walked down the hall and shyly called the nurses.

As my mother wailed and cried in pain the nurses worked quickly cleaning the mess that would mercilessly come out of my mom's body. I sat in my little cot, not knowing what to do, I decided shortly after to go back to sleep with the confidence that the nurses would take care of my mom. This scene would repeat itself for what it seemed 2 or 3 times more that night, with me always falling asleep with the image of the nurses surrounding my mom. I vaguely remember the nurses commenting on the pointlessness of me being there, I don't really remember how many days we were there either. All I know is that my mom got better and nursing was the last thing I ever wanted to do.

Flash forward 16 years; there I was lying on the hospital bed having my first child, 11 hours of labor and my baby refused to descend. Terrified of a C-section the only person keeping my family and me from losing all hope of vaginal delivery was Sandy.

I am sure I wasn't her only patient that morning, but I felt like I was. She kept a close eye on my baby and I and her kind and warm demeanor compensated for the OBGYN's cold manner. My mom's face was full of anguish as well as my dad's, my husband feeling powerless to do anything for me. But there was Sandy giving me confidence, I saw concern in her face yet she seemed more in control than anyone else and that gave me peace in the middle of the chaos. I asked her if she had any children, she admitted to having 4, which made me feel even more at ease, unlike my doctor, she actually knew what I was going through, how I was feeling in that moment. She successfully convinced the doctor to give me more time to labor, thanks to this and the help of my husband and the medical team I was able to deliver a 9Lbs 8 oz baby girl who we named Isabella.

I don't remember being so in awe of someone, I have never felt so vulnerable and safe at the same time and it was mostly due to Sandy's care. I left the hospital wishing I could be like Sandy someday and be able to give people the gift of compassion.

The dream of being a nurse lingered on for a few years. My daughter Isabella had grown to be a beautiful and energetic 3-year-old, who out of the blue started throwing up uncontrollably, she had not urinated for about 12 hours when we decided to rush to the urgent care. Little did we know that for the following 12 hours the only one who would eat would be our six-month-old son Daniel who I was nursing at the time. After spending all morning in the urgent care, 4 hours in the E.R waiting area and 2 more in the E.R a resident told us Isabella needed to be catherized to rule out a UTI, we reluctantly agreed, after all, she still had not urinated after having gotten 500 cc saline that morning.

A nurse and two aides came into the room to hold my daughter down, I leaned over her holding her chest and arms, whispering -it's going to be O.K, over and over again, our tears rolled down together as she fought and screamed, they inserted the catheter and took the sample. My daughter sat on her bed crying and shaking trying to make sense of what happened to her. Unable to console her, I ran to the nurse and asked for Motrin or something, anything to make my baby feel better. I must have seemed like desperate and overprotective mom, but the nurse did give her the Motrin, Isabella felt better and so did I. They sent us home with a prescription and instructions to come back if she continued to vomit. My husband and I agreed we would do everything in our power to keep her home.

Hungry and exhausted I realized I could never be a nurse I could not put a catheter in a child, draw his/her blood, I just would not be able to do it.

Fortunately, Isabella quickly forgot about that day. Today after many tears, screams, diapers and the execution of a lot of painful but necessary procedures on my children here I am 33 years old suffering from emotional amnesia and contemplating nursing again. Thinking I am insane for wanting to put myself through something like that. I have read book after book, story after story, blog post after blog post, riveted and disturbed, moved to tears and scared to death by what nurses and nursing students do every day. Yet the persistence of this desire is inexplicable to me and to anyone that has ever known me. Delusions of a desperate housewife? Calling? I don't know.

I know that as a daughter I could not understand or value the work that nurses do, as a patient I felt blessed beyond measure, as a mother I could not deal with the reality of what it implies, as a woman my heart is drawn to it, even as my mind keeps telling me, I'm not kind enough, smart enough or strong enough to witness other people's pain without falling apart. I know there is nothing I can do now or in nursing school to be like Sandy. I can strive for it, in the same way, I strive to be a better wife and mother.

Because what she had was not something she learned from a book or a class, it was something deeper harder to define, something that comes from experience, from life, from a heart that is unafraid of pain yet does not dismiss it. That is the kind of heart I want, even if it's only for one day that is why I think I want to be a nurse. Despite my fear, despite my weakness, despite the pain that is yet to come.

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23 Posts

Specializes in operation theatre.

hey i donn know if this true story of yours or someone elses

but its wpnderfull

A story to tell all the nurses for thier encouragement,

I am sad no one has commented on it


57 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg/Pediatrics, Maternity. Has 13 years experience.

If being a nurse is still on your mind after all these years maybe you should go for it. You sound like a caring person and that will take you part of the way. In nursing school you will learn about nursing interventions. These interventions along with a genuine concern for others and their needs will help you get started. Gaining experience will help as well. When I have to do something painful to a patient it helps to realize that what you're doing is ultimately for the good of the patient, to make the patient better. I hope this helps.


1 Article; 17 Posts

Thank you bipin_Sam and MichelleB34 for your comments. This is my story.

I was nervous about submitting it but I'm glad you 2 liked it. I thought it would be good for anyone that is on the fence like me. I think of it as a way to thank Sandy and to express how valuable I think the work nurses do is. I am taking my pre-reqs and I hope I have the guts to apply for nursing school. Thank you for your words of encouragement!


221 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU/CVICU/ED/HS.

W2BANU... It all comes down to (and this may sound mean, but...) "how bad do you want it?" This was my Dads favorite thing to say when I started a difficult project or life choice. "How bad do you want it?" The pain/discomfort that is caused by a procedure is sometimes difficult for us to bear as Nurses, and especially if it is our loved one lying there. It takes a while to, for the lack of a better phrase, "get used to" the patient discomfort. But we as Nurses are able to put it aside and deal with it later. In the ED we start many IVs on children, sutures, removal of foreign objects, etc. and believe me, it can be difficult to bear. (BTW, we keep earplugs on our suture cart for a reason). There are times however, that I go home and cry:cry: in the shower because of what has happened in the ED, or ICU, or wherever I happen to be that night. But, when you see that child or older person, later, out and about, you can tell yourself "I did a good thing.":p Not proper English, I know... But you see my point. W2BANU, it sounds like you have the right "heart" to be a Nurse, so, I say "GO FOR IT!!!" Keep us posted and we will help you all that we can, because... That is what Nurses do...


1 Article; 17 Posts

Thank you emboss, no what you wrote doesn't sound mean at all. It's a question I ask myself repeatedly. Thank you so much for your feedback and comments. I didn't know about the ear plugs, it's funny because I have earplugs all over the house, I need them sometimes to disconnect from the chaos:p. Something to remember next time I visit the ED. I'll keep you posted, I love this blog site, I've learned so much from all of you.:)

For someone not yet a nurse I think you captured very eloquently what it is to be nurse. Use your memories of Sandy to pull you through the hard times ahead. She gave you the strength to labor and that feeling will sustain you through class and clinicals. I think you will be an excellent nurse.


43 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac surgery ICU.

You sound like a person with the right heart to be a nurse, a really true nurse and I think patients will ask for you to care for them, because you sound like you really care. I wish you success in whatever you decide to do.


1 Article; 17 Posts

Thank you for your wonderful comments mmiriamasher and Kathylorraine246. I am very glad I posted this article what an encouraging and warm response. I hope you are both right about my heart :)


55 Posts

"Because what she had was not something she learned from a book or a class, it was something deeper harder to define, something that comes from experience, from life, from a heart that is unafraid of pain yet does not dismiss it. That is the kind of heart I want, even if it’s only for one day that is why I think I want to be a nurse. Despite my fear, despite my weakness, despite the pain that is yet to come. "

This paragraph could sum up your story and experiences. There are so many different niches in nursing also you wouldn't have a problem finding a good fit.


3 Articles; 82 Posts

Specializes in Labor & Delivery, Med-surg. Has 40 years experience.

I too have been enriched by my experience as a patient and it has made me a better nurse. I have experienced cruelty from one of my own colleagues when my kid had his tonsils out on the ward where I work and tremendous support and blessing from a chemo nurse (with my mom), who was truly an amazing example of heartfelt caring. She changed me more than anything else and I do try to make every patient I care for feel special.

I do hope you do go through with your plans to become a nurse. It is an amazing adventure!! There is nothing quite like helping people at some of their most vulnerable moments and being part of their recovery.


14 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Dept., Critical Care Transport.

We definitely need caring people in the field of Nursing and you sound like you will be a great assest to our Profession. Your article was very well written ---- It wasn't just what you said --- But the way you said it --- You have a great ability to grab the attention of the reader and envoke the reader's feelings. This is a wonderful talent and will be extremely valuable in your nursing career. Being able to verbalize and put into writing your own experiences and feelings is such a special abillty and one that not everyone possesses. You are bringing very valuable abilities to the fileld of Nursing and that is very exciting. I wish you much happiness in your future and I am very happy that you will be joining the Nursing Profession. :redbeathe :nurse: :yeah: