What inspired me to be a nurse?
Nursing has been in my blood since I was a baby. My adoption story started an amazing journey. My mother was the nurse to my biological mother when I was born. An OB nurse herself, mom helped bring me into the world and brought me home to a family full of medical professionals. I grew up with stories from the healthcare field told by some of the best types of nurses you could meet. From a young age I heard tales of incredible lifesaving and devastating heartache.
I had some influential family members who were nurses.
I have only ever known my mom as an OB nurse. She would come home in the morning after working the night shift with tiny cinnamon rolls from Burger King, With icing covered fingers, I’d listen to her talk of the babies she’d help bring into the world and the babies she’d helped lay to rest. She would come home after a long overnight shift with a smile on her face and happiness in her eyes.
In a world before HIPAA, she would sit and share stories with my aunt, who was our next door neighbor and an intensive care unit nurse, having worked as a respiratory therapist before that.
I would sit at the kitchen table and just listen to the wild stories they would tell. The crazy patients, the late night emergencies and the passion they had in the stories they told had me in awe of these women.
Being raised by a nurse means I also had LOTS of nurse moms on the OB floor of the small community hospital that my mother worked at. The hospital she still works at. I met so many wonderful men and women when I was a child. I am privileged to still know and work beside some of those men and women today.
I never had aspirations of being a lawyer or a princess. My dream was always being a registered nurse like the amazing men and women who raised me.
The nursing profession called to me, and I answered the call with vigor.
In high school, I made sure that science and math were subjects I excelled in, because I knew I would need them. I learned everything I could about the human body and its functions, building the foundation for the rest of my life. With hard work and determination (and a little help from my mom), I landed a job in the same hospital I had heard stories from all my life.
I began my first “adult” job as a nurse aid/unit secretary in the Emergency Department. I was probably too young to learn and see some of the things I did, but I learned and saw everything I could. It was the first place I learned about myself as a future nurse, and it’s still the place that holds the biggest piece of my heart.
I worked alongside some of the greatest healthcare professionals on the planet, and they taught me everything they could about the fascinating, chaotic and ever-changing world of emergency medicine.
I took a small detour in my life goal and when I graduated college with an associate’s degree in radiology. I spent 12-hour shifts working as an x-ray tech but I immediately knew I wasn’t meant for a professional world outside of nursing. So I immersed myself in nursing school a few years later, determined to learn everything I could about not only being a nurse, but being a good nurse.
When I graduated college the second time, having taken the N-CLEX and passing after 76 questions, I applied to the ER without a second thought.
Of all the health professions in the medical field, I wanted the ER.
Once I landed in the ER with those two letters behind my name, I knew I had made it. I was with the elite. The healthcare providers who gave excellent care to their patients on a daily basis. They gave all of themselves to their job but always had time to show baby nurse me the answers to all of the ridiculously dumb questions that popped into my baby nurse brain.
As a new nurse, I wanted to make a positive impact on patients and their families.
I wanted to help everyone. The sick and the dying. The old and the young. The difficult patients and the frequent flyers. Everyone deserved my help, and I was going to give everything to them, to take care of them.
I wanted the job satisfaction that came with doing what I knew I was born to do.
I wanted people to know that I cared and that I was there for them. I have shared some of the most gut-wrenching heartache as I’ve held the hands of family members who have to say goodbye. I have laughed as new life came into the world. I have held my emotions inside because that’s what my patient and their family needed. I have given my heart and soul to the nursing career in an attempt to make a positive impact on my patients, their families and my fellow coworkers.
I wanted to be there for patients. I still want to be there for patients.
What inspires me now, with a nursing shortage and ill-equipped students and entitled patients?
Saving patient’s lives. Taking care of people and not just charting.
Direct patient care for those that need me.
Being a good nurse who gives the best care she can, working alongside excellent providers.
Being on the frontlines of healthcare.
Providing nursing education to those who will follow after me, so they too can give the best possible care and improve the lives of patients.
Education has always been huge for me. I have always loved learning. There is nothing I like more than reading a book to discover something I didn’t know or relearn something I have forgotten. New nurses typically want to burn their books when they graduate, but I wanted to keep learning from them.
The nursing field allows vast opportunities for career advancement. Hospitals across the country will help you grow professionally, paying for you to get bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees, to become a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.
Within the nursing field itself, there are infinite possibilities for learning. I have been a bedside nurse, a home health nurse, and an oncology nurse.
I want to continue to grow and inspire and teach and care. The nursing field isn’t always just what you hear about on the news or read in the paper. it’s exhausting, dirty, and chaotic in a high demand environment. But it’s also beautiful.
Is it the career path I would choose if I was allowed to change it? Absolutely. I would choose this career path time and again and I wouldn’t change a thing.