I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was twelve. I graduated medical school at 25, pissed off that I was second in my class. Chief of Medicine at 32. Second youngest ever, first woman.
My favorite nursing professor was telling us about her time as a nursing student in the 80s. She worked at Mass General for a summer on an infectious disease/medical-surgical floor and was a student there when the AIDS epidemic began. She talked about how amazing it was to work with doctors and nurses who didn’t understand the disease any more than she did, how she was able to learn right alongside of them. When she graduated nursing school, she returned to that floor to work for several more years. She told us this:
“I can remember exactly when and where I was when I first heard the word “AIDs”. I can still picture some of those patients that I took care of in the early days: young, otherwise healthy, people who made a real impact on my life. I chose to leave that and go on to Cardiology and I think this is an important message to bring to you. [I left] because it was getting to be too much at that point. I think I saw way too many people die, people I knew. I had a nephew die of AIDS who was only a couple years younger than I was at the time so he was a peer of mine. So it was getting too close to home.”
She then went on to tell us the best thing I’ve ever been told in nursing school:
“I think this is important for you guys to know as students: It is OKAY to first be human and then be a nurse. That you do not have to hold yourself any higher than any other human being and that you have feelings and that you have emotions and you have things you’re good at and things you’re not so good at. So when things come too close to home, sometimes you’re not the best one for that.”
I think, as students, we are never really taught that and we go into our jobs expecting to be able to handle everything. But we can’t and we shouldn’t be expected to. In nursing school we see things with fresh new eyes and the desire to help people practically vibrating within us. It is that desire that pushes us through long weeks without sleep, nights spent crying yourself to sleep, Clinicals that not only test your knowledge and physical strength but also your stamina to stay on your feet and hold your bladder, lectures that seem to never end, exams that seem harder than the material you spent every waking hour of your lost weekend studying. We get through those things and it seems worth it in the end because we know that this is what we want to do. We can still feel that desire in our bones to make a difference somewhere. With these fresh new eyes, we’ve seen jaded nurses who have lost their compassion and wonder how they got there. With a chip on their shoulder, they lost their motivation to care for their patients and simply go to work every day because that’s what they have to do to get their pay check. But we know that compassion is a driving force in our profession; it is almost synonymous with nursing. But compassion comes from humanity and we can’t lose that in ourselves. We are humans first and nurses second, and that’s how we will survive.
I called out of work for today, passed out in my clothes last night and then slept for 12 hours. Sometimes, you need to just refresh.
I’m feeling better now, time to get to work.
|—||Unknown (via onlinecounsellingcollege)|