I Am A Nurse
I Am A Nurse
As a young girl, I first discovered my interest in the medical field after obtaining a microscope at the tender age of ten. I was a big fan of “Mad Magazine” back then. The inside back cover would regularly feature ads promising all sorts of great prizes by simply selling greeting cards and wrapping paper door to door. I sent off for the information and shortly thereafter began my first sales job. I began collecting orders from my neighbors and friend’s parents. I earned several prizes over that summer, but my most prized possession was the microscope with the little mirror. It sat in my window and opened up a whole new world for me.
My foray into medicine was further developed when I had the unfortunate luck to receive those dreaded braces while in junior high school. I did enjoy the staff at the orthodontist clinic despite the torture. It was also during this time that students were required to develop a career project and decided to write the paper on orthodontia. My braces were removed during this time and I glued them onto a poster board as part of my presentation. It was during my research that I learned an orthodontist could make $100,000 per year! (This was in 1979) As a teen girl, all I could see was dollar signs and I decided that would be my new career choice.
In high school I loved biology and my instructor was delightful and engaging. I distinctly remember my first dissections; the smell of formaldehyde and the way it made my fingernails grow. I stayed with this instructor for three years during which she encouraged me to pursue nursing. I considered it and even submitted my ACT scores to several nursing schools. Soon after I met a boy and everything changed.
In order to pursue my dream of a medical career, I found myself facing many more years of school which was discouraging to a young girl in love. My boyfriend had just finished his second year of college and we longed to marry. My life took a detour. A husband, house, and two children later I finally returned to school to pursue a career as a registered nurse. It would turn out to be the best decision of my life.
When considering my career options while in high school I often had dinner time discussions with my parents. My mother had been a stay-at-home mom while my dad was a typical middle class father, working 40 hour weeks at the local aluminum plant. The plant had served hundreds of people for many years; my dad was just one of them. He had started the job soon after he and my mother married and was working as a journeyman machinist. He had a detour during Vietnam and returned where he continued his job in the machine shop for 38 years.
Over of our family dinners I asked my father how he could go to work, day in and day out, at the same plant while performing essentially the same tasks. I will never forget his words. “I never said I liked it,” he said. My father explained that ALCOA was a good job and it provided for our family. He had benefits and it allowed for stability. His father and brother worked there and he explained that providing for one’s family was more important than job pleasure.
It was right then and there that I decided to be a nurse someday. When my father confronted me and asked to explain my decision, it was easy. My reasons for becoming a nurse were to prevent me from working in the same place for 38 years, facing the same people, the same work, day in and day out. I knew that nursing would allow me to work in a variety of settings, with tons of options for work hours, the ability to move from one area to another, and never having to be worried that I would be out of work. This would also allow me to both enhance my education in a variety of specialties as well as to prevent boredom. I knew that I could work with different age groups, in the community as well as beyond our borders. I have continued with that thinking even today.
Becoming a registered nurse is one of the happiest moments of my life. The sense of accomplishment brought me self-esteem which had been sorely lacking. I graduated with honors and had done it on my own. My son was a mere 15 days old when I started school and now with two toddlers in tow I set out on my new career path knowing that I was ready for what life had in store for me.
When beginning nursing school I always assumed I would work in the operating room. That had been my primary goal, but during school I found other areas equally exciting. I landed a fabulous job working in my local hospital on the day shift which, at the time, was unheard of for a new grad. I quickly trained as charge nurse and was enjoying my new life with great pay. A local neurologist approached me and asked that I consider working with him. I had never considered working in a doctor’s office before. I thought that was a place reserved for medical assistants and nurse wannabes. The promise of weekends and holidays off sounded nice as did the salary and bonus options. I worked in this position for five years.
Along the way I have also managed medical clinics, sold medical equipment, worked nights, worked in intensive care units and much more. I also learned about other career opportunities for nurses such as case management. This satisfied my desire for patient contact, while keeping my latex allergy at bay. It was during this time that I discovered I had a special knack for management and organization.
I started my current consulting firm shortly thereafter and my life has never looked better. Nursing is an incredible profession. We are consistently ranked number one in the Gallop polls as the most honest of professions. We provide a caring touch, soft word, encouragement, empathy, and yes, we also provide those medical skills too. We are a powerful bunch. A group capable of diagnosing and prescribing care for the human response to everything going on in one’s life yet we don’t embrace this. As the years go by and our world grows older we will carry the weight of the world on our shoulders; teaching others how to live longer, healthier, and happier.
Burnout is inevitable if you consistently give of yourself. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and remember what is important to us. My father was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. It was in advanced stages and as the family nurse I was on hand to offer what little assistance I could. It was during this time that my family consistently thanked me over and over. I didn’t understand why they were thanking me. I hadn’t done anything. Sure I had made a few calls, explained some procedures, collected some results, but that wasn’t really nursing…or was it? We have so much to offer and sometimes it is the simplest of things that our patients really need. There is great power in nursing.
As nurses we should encourage others while explaining that this is still a tough course. It is difficult to deal with the demands of life and death while completing the obligatory paperwork and carrying out the orders of the physicians, but the rewards we reap are worth it. Lift up and encourage one another. Remember that you can be a nurse in a variety of settings and with multiple generations, in the community and outside our borders. Find what makes your heart sing and do it.
- Catastrophic Injury Case Management
- Just for Fun
- Legal Nurse Consulting
- Life Care Planning
- Medical Case Management
- Workers' Compensation Case Management
Recent Blog Posts
- Brain Injury Resources
- Navigating Your Way Through the Paper
- Why Do I Do, What I Do
- Free Social Security Disability Seminar
- Power Relationships and How to Make Them Work
- Pain Medication Recall
- How to Market on a Shoestring Budget
- Upcoming Webinars You Don’t Want to Miss
- Pain doc faces his fifth malpractice lawsuit
- What to Watch for in Traumatic Brain Injury