The line for this ad should be, “Are YOU A Registered Nurse?”
This is me after two twelve-hour shifts in a row and five within 6 days.
Actually, this was me after Grand Rounds…
Except I’m in sweats and, hopefully, not drooling.
I am, however, according to some family members, snoring.
The last movie I “dragged” myself through was “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” Managed to “drag” myself to that one three times. In one day.
My family has given up a lot more than one evening a week.
Because I live a Nurse Day Life.
“Pretty strong stuff you’re askin’ for, little lady.”
“Sure is. Been handling it for twenty eight years. Sometimes on the rocks, sometimes straight up, but I wake up to it every day.”
You see, the nursing life doesn’t come without sacrifices.
I’ve been the first on the scene of a code and saved a life with the push of a button.
- I’ve missed the chance for memories of many holiday dinners with family members who are no longer here, because I had to work.
I’ve had a patient tell me that I’m the first person who has actually listened to them.
- I returned to my job five weeks after my son was born by C-section, because I had used up all my “sick time” leading up to his birth because I was sick for two months prior to his arrival.
I’ve been thanked by the homeless for a warm blanket and a meal.
- I slept through my daughter’s Confirmation because I had been up for 36 hours, working twelve-hour nights and unable to sleep the day before.
I’ve hugged the parents of a young woman who died unexpectedly after spending 8 hours working to save her.
- My daughter told me years later that the smell of one particular cologne made her sad to this day because it used to mean I was going to work.
I’ve helped first time parents gain confidence in working through their child’s first illness.
- My husband and I have worked opposite hours for 26 years so that someone would be home with and available for the kids.
I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the stories of the elderly who weren’t oriented to place but could describe their participation in World War II in vivid, fascinating detail.
- I’ve missed family vacations because I could not get the time off.
I’ve held the hand of an intubated, post-arrest patient and had them squeeze when I asked if they could hear me.
- I’ve missed seeing my daughter’s basketball games and cross-country runs because they were scheduled on my weekend to work.
I was meant to be a nurse.
- I give so much energy to it that twice I’ve suffered from depressive burn-out without my patients ever knowing.
But somehow, when God handed out the gifts, mine was the ability to care for the sick.
Not the ability to play guitar in a rock band or sing like Ann Wilson, or play the violin in a world-class orchestra.
Didn’t even get a voice good enough to be slammed by Simon Cowell.
I think He was trying to tell me something.
Given the sacrifices, frustrations and impact that nursing has made on my life, would I choose to do it all again?