How to Save a Life

I remember the exact moment that I decided to become a nurse.

The actual story is not quite as dramatic as that first statement, but it is true nonetheless. Elijah and I were in the Babies R Us parking lot. I had been working mid shifts as an SGML coder at Tinker Air Force Base and was absolutely miserable. I hated having to drop Asher off at daycare, even if it was only for a few hours. The pay was terrible and my morale was low. I wanted something different. Something that would work with the kind of family life that I envisioned for myself. A job that could also be a profession. Something with good pay and unconventional hours. I remember telling Elijah that I was going to go to nursing school.

To say he was surprised would be a pretty big understatement.

See, Elijah knows I’m a fainter. I’ve fainted while visiting people in the hospital. I’ve fainted while giving blood. I’ve got needle phobia and based purely on my history, I seemed the least likely candidate for nursing. EVER. But I’m also a realist. I’m a practical thinker and I knew that with nursing I could have everything: a professional career, steady employment, good income, and time for my family.

My main concern was that once I started nursing I wouldn’t like Grey’s Anatomy anymore.

Seriously.

While working on the prerequisites for an ADN program I spent a lot of time on nursing blogs and forums. I suppose I wanted to get the “skinny” on what it’s really like to be a nurse. In my naivety I assumed that the medical dramas I watched religiously were only inaccurate about the attractiveness of the hospital staff, but of course I was wrong. A lot of these shows got crucified on the forums, not only for the beauty of their actors, but also for protocol inaccuracies, unrealistic diagnostic circumstances and a host of other minor discrepancies. I was scared. I worried that I would gain everything I’d ever wanted in life but lose my ability to watch sappy, over acted medical dramas.

I enrolled in nursing school, despite these seemingly irrational fears and this career has been everything I’d expected and so much more. I truly love my work. I never imagined that I’d enjoy working with hospital patients and their families so much. In school so many of the students talked about how they always wanted to be nurses, how they knew it was their calling. I felt a little intimidated by that, but was always honest about my reasons for joining the profession. I wanted to have it all: family life, a professional career and time for me. And in addition to all those things, I also got this profound feeling of accomplishment, capability and pride. I am not a perfect care provider, I don’t know everything, but I love my job and I am a damn fine nurse.

And I still watch Grey’s Anatomy every week.

2 Responses to How to Save a Life
  1. Mixed Handbag
    July 20, 2010 | 7:20 pm

    This blog entry symbolizes all the reasons we are friends. Seriously. You are just so honest and not afraid to say whatever it is your are feeling. You are a damn fine nurse. You will be my second call in the event my mother is ever not available.

  2. Mixed Handbag
    July 20, 2010 | 7:20 pm

    This blog entry symbolizes all the reasons we are friends. Seriously. You are just so honest and not afraid to say whatever it is your are feeling. You are a damn fine nurse. You will be my second call in the event my mother is ever not available.