Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Being a Nurse


           I have been a nurse for 12 years.  I have been in love with medicine since I was 14 years old.  I clearly remember going to the hospital to visit an ill friend and feeling overwhelmed by the idea that one building housed the beginning of life, the end of it and the fight for it in the middle.  I could not process it, and sometimes I still can’t.  The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be a part of it.  Flash forward an AA in Licensed Practical Nursing, then an AA in Registered Nursing, and finally a Bachelor’s degree (My father used to remind me that two AA’s does not equal a doctorate.  Har, har.)

             I love being a nurse. I love walking into a patient’s room in the early morning, gently waking them and saying, “Hello, my name is Domini.  I am your nurse today.”  Nothing that has ever happened in those walls has ever fazed me.  The only things that I carried with me out of the hospital at night were the stories of the patients that I had cared for, and the sense that I had helped someone that day.  I had helped them in a way that I knew in my heart that I was built for.  

                Since becoming a Mom I have worked only on the weekends.  It was important too both of us and something that we decided before any pregnancy test gave a positive result.  We would make sure either Alan or I was with our kids.  This has meant very little time together as a whole family, and making the time that we did have matter.  Lately that strain had gotten to be too much and we needed to find another solution.  I applied for another job, away from the patient beside.  The new position would mean that I could be home in the afternoon, so that even when I worked we could have a bike ride and dinner all together. 
                I loved the flexibility of my new job immediately, and the department I work for contains some of the best people that I have ever known.  There were a few things however that weren’t so great.  My peers did not see me as a nurse anymore, and the doctors who used to tell me that they were so glad that I was the one taking care of their patient now groaned (or worse) when I would call to ask them to do some necessary paperwork.  Also, I missed taking care of patients.  I felt as though I had lost a very important and valuable part of myself.  

                I do not feel that way any longer.  Life has shown me over the course of the last six months that I am going to be given opportunity after opportunity to be a nurse.  Last week as my precious daughter was being wheeled away from me by nurses and an anesthesiologist I didn’t give a flying leap about my identity.  I was not worried about whether or not I was viewed as a nurse by my peers. All I wanted was for my little girl to come out of that surgery safe and well.  I was thankful for every second that I have ever spent with her, every single one.

                Now that we are all home together and healthy I have decided this: I am still a nurse. I will always be a nurse.  Being a nurse isn’t anything that a different job title can take from me.  Nor is it anything that I should be taking away from myself.