During my childhood and early teenage years, I can remember my English teachers asking things like what do I want to be when I grow up? What to you want to study in college? As a child I would give a quick sentence or a couple of words. I would say that I wanted to be a cop, a firefighter ,or a chef. As a teenager, I was expected to contemplate and compile a three page written paper . My answers varied each and every year from wanting to be a teacher, a chef , to a social worker. I can remember many kids saying they wanted to become a nurse or doctor .I can never recall wanting to become a nurse myself.
I have been told so many stories by my mother, that I was actually turned off from ever wanting to become a nurse. Then I had an experience that changed my mind, will change my future and what I will be doing with the rest of my life. My mom has been an adult critical care nurse for twenty-five years. I have gone to work with my mom on several occasions and have seen first hand how challenging and physically demanding a career in nursing can be. I have also heard some of the horror stories she has experienced.Hearing her experiences dealing with a delusional patient with dementia, avoiding a full urinal thrown by an out of control withdraw patient. Working with a psychiatric patient who keeps telling me that I look just like her sister, keeping in mind that she has been institutionalized for attempting to kill her sister.
Having to change an incontinent patient with severe sacral decubitus. Hearing all of these experiences turned me away from ever thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare. Many of the jobs I have actually wanted to do and tried have never really worked out.I’ve tried cooking and working in restaurants. Office work never quite caught my attention. Answering phones, sorting files, and sitting behind a computer were too impersonal. I loved the human interaction of the restaurant work, however the work itself was not challenging enough.
I have experience in sales and absolutely love the personal interactions with the customers, but again the work itself is not stimulating or challenging. I want to be in a field that involves personal interaction and that is stimulating and challenging everyday.All of my thoughts about healthcare changed when my great aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. When her condition advanced my mother decided to take her in and have her live at our house for her final few weeks. Weeks ended up turning into months. I could see my mother wearing down from all the stress and responsibility of caring for my great aunt, taking care of our household and working at the hospital. I knew I was going to have to pitch in and help her.
I took a class on elder care which gave me insight and some idea of what I was going to need to do.I often helped my mother out with the daily duties that my great aunt required. My being able to help relieved some of the strain of my mother’s everyday life as it had become. I can remember the days where we would have to switch duty early in the morning. My helping allowed my mom to sleep so she wouldn’t have to fix the non-stop beeping of the pulse oximeter, or making sure the breathing nebulizers were on time. We were on an emotional roller coaster until we consulted the hospice team and our life saver came. What I remember most about this experience was my aunt’s hospice nurse.
Amanda was her name and one name I will never forget. I would follow Amanda around and watch her every move. I was making sure that when she was not there that I would be able to do these things too. She took great care of my aunt, and she also took great care of my family. She was compassionate, caring, sympathetic, and most importantly showed us how to care for my aunt to maintain her dignity and some sense of self. She cried with us and laughed with us. Amanda became a mentor whom I could look up to and always talk to about the emotions and experiences that we were going through at that time.
I mostly admired the connection she made with our family, it was like she became a part of our family. I would talk to Amanda and watch her and how she enjoyed her job so much , the satisfaction and sense of being able to help a patient and a family through one of the most difficult times in a lifetime. This made me re-evaluate my goals of what I want to become. I thought to myself that I could actually help someone through a difficult time, that I want to be able to do that, I want to make a difference in someone’s life. I want to become a nurse.