Monday, May 6, 2013

To All My Fellow Nurses...HAPPY NURSES WEEK!

First of all--HAPPY NURSES WEEK!!!!
Second of all--yes, I really did make this card for all of you nurses. I'm just that clever. I've pondered quitting my day job (ok--night job), and becoming a professional "Someecards" writer, but as luck would have it, the nursing world still seems to need me.
I've spent a few moments reflecting on my career today. It does happen to be Monday, and it really is "Nurses Week". We can't make this stuff up. We nurses decided to claim an entire week instead of just one day to celebrate...well...BEING NURSES! 
See, any lame person can claim a day--like, it's "National Pirate Day" or it's "Yellow Yarn Day" or it's "Blow Up Your Ball Park Frank In The Microwave Day". Nobody cares. However, when you claim the entire week--people have to listen. Why? Because you're on Facebook, and you're going to cram your self-proclaimed week of holiday festivities down their throat whether they like it or not--THAT'S WHY!
I have been thinking a lot about my career lately. I'm transitioning from one hospital to another at this time, and as overwhelming as it is, one thing remains the same--I'M STILL A NURSE! Regardless of the chaotic changes I'm having to combat with new computer systems, new doctors, and new forms of paperwork, the nursing part of my job--the "staying in touch, and healing humans" part of my job remains the same.
(I'm just sayin'...)
I think this concept separates us nursing folk from the rest of you faker faker belly ache-ers. We are REAL. No matter how awesome Cosmo Magazine portrays how sexy humanity is, I have a few words for you --STEP INTO MY OFFICE!...cuz whether or not we like it, we humans are a little bit on the side of disgusting at times. I don't care if you're a Victoria's Secret model--when you have a stomach virus, you look just as gnarly at the rest of us poor, unfortunate, genetically deranged souls. And who gets to clean up after you when you are gushing body fluids from your GI tract in every direction?
(Yay! sarcasm)
I'm not going to sit here and start listing all of the gross things that nurses have to do. You know why? Because for some reason, nurses are just genetically enhanced with something in our soul that actually allows us to do "gross things", and not over think the situation. Why do we do it? Because there is somewhere deep down inside of us that actually cares about humans on a level that some people can't comprehend, or begin to understand. Heck--I don't think we even understand it. We are just blessed with the gift of being able to care for people in their most vulnerable state, and somehow "make it better".
I decided when I was a teenager that I wanted to become a nurse. Granted, some of you are probably like, "But Whitney!--you went to college to be a geologist! How did you ever end up as a nurse!" Believe me, it was a calling I tried to avoid for a long time. I had dipped a toe into the water of nursing prior to committing to college to become a geologist. I couldn't handle it at that point. So how did I become a nurse?
I'm glad you asked! (hint of sarcasm in voice)
When I was a teenager, I had my first child. It was a very scary experience. I ended up having to go to the hospital at one point because I went into labor too early, and I was treated like a giant pile of teenage, white trash, garbage. The nurse who was performing procedures on me was hurting me, and I had the audacity to cry because it was so painful. She told me, "Shut up! You shut up, and just sit there! You got yourself into this situation, and now you just need to deal with it!!!"
I was traumatized. At that point I was already devastated about my situation. On top of it all, I had to feel the wrath of the nursing staff at that particular hospital. It was awful. My doctor got wind of the situation, and transferred my care to a different facility--one that was more "kid friendly".
I ended up at a different hospital--a hospital with amazing staff. Staff who made me feel like they really cared about me, and about getting me from Point A (pregnancy) to Point B (delivery) without beating me up verbally in the process. I took those two situations--the bad one, and the good one, and I said to myself, "If I was ever a nurse, I would NEVER treat anybody that way". And it was at that time that a small spark was ignited inside of me to become a labor and delivery nurse. But not just ANY labor and delivery nurse--I was going to be different. I was going to be better at it. And I was never going to let anyone feel the way I felt that day when I got reprimanded for getting myself into such a "ridiculous" predicament.
So here I am today--a labor and delivery nurse!!!
Everyday I go into my job, and I don't just look at it as bringing home the bacon. I give myself to my job. Why? Because I will always believe that there is more healing in reaching out to touch the human soul than there ever will be in the administration of medication. There are times when I come across situations where I have young moms, and I'll be taking report, and people roll their eyes and tell me "it's just another teen mom", and I say, "HEY!!!! I was that girl--SO BE NICE!!! There's hope for her!"
I guess that's what keeps me going as a nurse--HOPE. I have a unique opportunity everyday to make a plant a seed. I can be an example to others. It's not a responsibility I take lightly.
There is a prayer I pray everyday before I go into work. I've never shared it, but it goes a little something like this:
"Dear God,
Thank you for this day, and the opportunity that you have given me to serve You through helping others. Please watch over me, guide me, and direct me today as I go into work. Please bless that I will be competent with my medication administration, and that I will be competent with my cares unto others. Please bless me with Your spirit, Father, that I may have Your direction, and that Your light will shine through me, and stir curiosity in the hearts of others.
You may call me crazy. However, my sister is not super religious, and is also a nurse, and she prays everyday before going into work, too. Only, she is less formal with her prayers and they look a little bit like,
"Dear God, Please don't let anyone die on me today, and please don't let me kill anyone. However, if the person I am taking care of does go into cardiac arrest, please grant me the strength to jump up and down on their chest during CPR like an unruly gorilla who is learning how to pound out cookie dough on a granite countertop." Amen.
I am blessed to have the career that I have. There is a lot of good, bad, and ugly that comes with it. However, there is a lot of joy, triumph, and healing that does as well. I have learned that the people, like the crappy nurse who took care of me when I was a teen, are in the MINORITY of my profession. Most nurses are the most caring, kind, compassionate people I know. And it doesn't matter how much smack we talk, or how much we joke around in an effort to make our jobs lighthearted enough to handle them emotionally--I WORK WITH A STELLAR BUNCH OF NURSES.
We care for our patients. We rejoice with our patients. We cry in celebration with them, and weep in sorrow and devastation beside them. Our job is not glamorous. Our job is real. And it is such a blessing to be such an integral part of the human spirit.
To all of my amazing nurses out there--
(PS I couldn't do it without you)

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