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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Be A Nurse

I. Am. A. Nurse.  Actually you could probably classify me as one of those annoying people  who knew from a very young age, exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  I can remember being as young as 5, playing with dolls and acting like I was their nurse.  I loved "taking care" of people, animals, rocks...you name it.  I know there were a few points along the way that I thought about other possible careers, but ultimately I never wavered from my original goal.

My Aunt Joanie is a nurse, and I remember overhearing her talk about her job.  I was fascinated by the stories she told, and always admired her confidence.  I WANTED that.  I needed to feel like I was making a difference too.  And that's exactly what nursing is...making a difference, no matter how small, in the life of another person.  I couldn't wait to get that RN behind my name.

I took sort of a non-traditional path to finding the right college for myself (my Dad loves that about me!) but I eventually ended up at Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing (BRCN) in Quincy.  Sometimes when you live in the same place your whole life you have the assumption that other cities will have "better" things to offer in the way of education.  However, BRCN is a nationally recognized school and more importantly does a great job of giving their students a solid foundation on which to build a successful career.  I'm glad that I had the opportunity to experience it.

Having said that, I only worked as an RN for a few years before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom.  I've definitely had moments where I miss nursing so badly that I give serious consideration to going back at least part-time.  However, I also have moments when I think that maybe I'll choose a different career path altogether.  It's moments like these that I've questioned becoming a nurse.  It's not that I didn't like the job.  Actually, I LOVED my job as a labor nurse.  There is something truly magical about being in the room with a woman as she gives birth to her child.  I could never describe it in words.  But, I think at some point during my years of staying at home, I wondered if I'd made a mistake in getting my degree and then only actually using it for a few years. (This of course doesn't count the calls from friends/family members asking their nursing questions!:) 

My recent life experiences have forced me to be several things at once.  At times, I'm Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, and Friend. While my son's illness certainly saw my "Mommy" hat, I also felt compelled to slap that nursing cap back on my head.  I knew what medications were being given, when they were to be administered, and I always asked why they were being given.  I knew side effects and half-life of each drug. I asked all KINDS of questions about his care, and offered my help when they would allow me to do so.  When we came home, I flushed his broviac line daily and performed sterile dressing changes as needed.  But  more importantly than my physical capabilities as a nurse, was my ability to use my critical thinking during the whole process.  I say these things not to brag about how great I am, but to express how truly grateful I have become for my education.

I had a bit of a disagreement with a resident about taking Easton's central line out of his leg.  The resident told the nurse to pull it, but I told him no.  I'm sure that wasn't exactly what he was expecting, but I knew that although infection is a risk with a central line, having access for the remainder of the anti-viral medication was higher on the priority list.  He argued that we had another access point in a peripheral vein.  But, again my experience told me that a 24 gauge IV in the foot of an 11-month old is not likely to make it for 12 minutes, let alone 12 more days!!  I agreed that he could remove the central line, but only AFTER he was successful in getting a more reliable access somewhere else.

In May of 2004, I graduated with my BSN.  Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing did a great job providing me with  the "who", "what", "when", "where", and "how" of becoming a nurse.  Seven years later, my son taught me "why."

1 comment:

  1. Love this Shannon, as I do of all of your blogs!

    I never, in a million years thought that I would be faced with learning how to take bp, administer meds, change out a 12inch long x 1.5inch open wide abdominal vacuum dressing daily, sponge bathe my husband, (although he did not complain about that, lol). Just to mention a few...I mean for the love of pete, the only thing behind my name is "stay-at-home mom"!

    All of these things were tragically dropped onto my plate, but I became extremely passionate about them from the moment it happened because it was my husband! I don't want to jinx anything by saying this, but I have started to breathe again, no longer on the stressful hospital auto-pilot mode. Questions will unfortunately always be there for us, (which drives me insane!) no solid concrete answers to the fact that it will not happen to us again.

    We have gone from minute to minute, day to day, and now month to month... It has been a very hard, long road. But it is a road that I am so very thankful to be on!

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