In celebration of National Nurses Week, I asked several nurse friends why they wanted to get into the profession. Since I was curious about reasons behind their choices to be a nurse, I thought others might be too. Along with that, this is my way of not only celebrating these wonderful women, but nurses everywhere who work crazy hours under stressful conditions, embrace the ill with their loving care, teach the public how to care for their well-being along with those whom they love who might need extra attention, and who, by the minute, are without a doubt saving lives with their exceptional skill.
Last year, I posted a blog titled: To Nurses Everywhere, a Tip of My Nursing Cap http://www.blogher.com/nurses-everywhere-tip-my-nursing-cap-0 in which I talked more generally about who enters the nursing profession and why it should be held in such high esteem. In that post, I saluted my fellow (strange word when talking mostly about women) professionals. Being a nurse isn’t easy, but it is incredibly rewarding. As you read the words that follow, you will get a sense of why, for these women, nursing is a calling and a life long commitment. For me knowing all of them personally, one who I met at my first nursing job and one with whom I went to nursing school, it is apparent why nurses are the (not one of the, but THE) most trusted profession.
Liz: So why did I become a nurse? I had been in so many industries already, none of which gave me any meaning or feeling of accomplishment. My husband finally said, 'stop floundering and go into nursing like you've always wanted to'. I was afraid of not getting into school because of my previous failing GPA. More than that, I was afraid of failing in school if I did get in. I did it despite my fear and not only did I get accepted to school, I graduated 2nd in my class. Nine years later, I cannot imagine my life without nursing. My patients are my passion, my co-workers are my family and my experiences have shaped me into the woman I am today. I've learned so much about life and introspection; have acquired many skills, both personally and professionally; and have grown in my faith. What more could I ask for? That I may be blessed with the ability to continue doing this until I decide I've had enough. I love nothing more than helping my patients and their families through the tragedies in their lives, allowing them to feel the compassion with which I provide care.
Javier: I became a nurse because it amazed me that in just a short time, you could change someone mentally, physically, and spiritually, making a lasting impression.
Sarah: My Mom's a nurse and when I was 16 we were coming home from downtown Cleveland, we'd gone to lunch to celebrate a promotion she had received and it was February. We noticed an overturned car and a woman lying on the side of the road with no ambulance or police cars present. She pulled over and began tending to the woman who had been launched from the vehicle as an unrestrained passenger. Her husband and four children were trapped in the car. My mom instructed me to call an ambulance, as she began tending to the woman's needs, who was unconscious and bleeding from seemingly every orifice. The woman didn't make it to the hospital but her husband and children were saved. Aside from the pure trauma of the event, my mom’s heroism and intelligence and selflessness left a lasting impression and instantly shaped my career choice from that point. My mom wasn’t a floor nurse at the point, but she still retained her compassion and skills, which are the foundation of any nursing career. All in all I wanted to be just like her when I grew up! (Sarah: You are a wonderful person and, no doubt, an admirable nurse!)
Jenn: I wanted to become a nurse because there are so many opportunities out there for nurses...we can work in a doctors office, in a hospital, in research...I wanted to challenge myself to all of the different areas of nursing and decided to become a cardiovascular ICU nurse. Helping patients and their families heal from such traumatic times gives me such fulfillment!
Chrishaunda: I decided to become a nurse because I always loved helping people. In 1999 my uncle was in a car accident and was in and out of the hospital for several months. I found myself intrigued with how the nurses helped him through his recovery process and the rest is history.
Lynn: I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. There was never a question in my mind about it!
Elaine (not me): In 1966 when I graduated from High School, girls became nurses or teachers! Beyond that, I really wanted to have a profession in which I knew I could support myself. Also, nursing school allowed me to live away from home, something I would not have done if I went to University of Cincinnati. I always wanted to be a bedside nurse, not an administrator. I wanted to impact people's health on a one to one basis and hopefully I have done so. (You have my friend, as have all of of the other women who are quoted above.)
As my friend Elaine wished me: Happy Nurse's Week to you!
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