When I was 19 years old I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I had these big dreams and visions of “helping people”!
I have to say this pandemic has had me questioning everything! The way nurses have been treated during this crisis has been shocking to say the least.
So many things made me pick up my jaw off the floor this year- I already addressed my major concerns in this blog post Here
But then right at those lowest points when I feel the most jaded is when I am reminded of all of the moments. All of the experiences I have had over the years that have made me into the nurse and person I am today.
Like the time during my first year working as an RN. I was working nights on a cardiac medical-surgical unit and it was a crazy busy night. Time stood still when the patients heart monitor started beeping in room 14. You see she was a 40 year old cancer patient that had been with us awhile and seemed stable for the most part- that is until that night. Her heart rate started dropping suddenly. But you have to understand she was a DNR- meaning we were not going to try to resuscitate her. It all happened so fast- we knew her family was not going to make it in time. An LPN and myself went into her room to be with her. She was conscious the entire time. She was scared and as she was taking her last breaths we rubbed her back and told her to not be afraid. She was my first patient death! That MOMENT has stayed with me my entire career.
Like the time during my first year working in Labor and Delivery. I was assigned to my first fetal demise (a baby we knew was going to be stillborn). You see I didn’t know if I could do it- I just didn’t know. You have to understand-I lost my own 2 month old daughter 5 years prior to that moment and I just didn’t know if I could be in THAT moment. I did assist in the delivery of that beautiful baby girl. I cried. The physician cried. The mother wept.
Like the time many years later when I was called to the ER. At this point in my career I was an advocate and educator for our families in labor and delivery who were losing their babies- What I was scared of earlier in my career ended being my gift for many years. The ER called me in labor and delivery because they had a 40 year old man that had come in and suddenly died of a heart attack. His 8 year old daughter was with his wife in the ER and they wanted me to help them make memories with her- We made handprints of her daddy’s hand and her fingers. To this day I still have the photo of the mold we made.
What people don’t realize is every patient we care for has a story- and we get to be a part of every one of them. The joy, the nervousness, the fear, and yes even in the heartbreak. We, nurses are there for every moment. So when I feel jaded by current circumstances- I look back to these moments and many others and remember my WHY.