5 Ways Nursing Changed My Life.
“Being a nurse isn’t about grades. It’s about being who we are. No book can teach you how to cry with a patient. No class can teach you how to tell their family that their parents have died or are dying. No professor can teach you how to find dignity in giving someone a bed bath. A nurse isn’t about the pills, the IVs, and the charting. It’s about being able to love people when they are at their weakest moments and being able to forgive them for all their wrongs and make a difference in their lives today. No one can make you a nurse… you just are.” ~ Anonymous
Since the first grade, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Other kids in my class would talk about becoming astronauts, pilots, millionaires or the president of the United States. I would sit back and giggle at their fairy tale dreams because I knew what I was going to be.
I was going to be a Registered Nurse.
Now, I will say I was definitely influenced significantly by my family. My grandmother was a nurse for almost 40 years, my mother was a tech for a Neurology doctor, and my entire family was blessed with the gift of compassion.
Whether it was breaking my arm (twice) when I was six years old, or having a severe anaphylactic reaction to eating apricots, my family always knew how to take care of its own.
After high school, I busted my butt to complete my college basics in an ungodly amount of time, but in the end, it all paid off. I was able to complete a five-year Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree in three and a half years.
Sure I didn’t have much of a social life in college, but my age gave me a huge advantage in the professional world.
I have now been an RN for three and a half years, and all I can think is, “Where has the time gone?” It feels like only yesterday I was having a panic attack as my mother drove me to Oklahoma City to take my NCLEX Nursing Boards.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in my entire life.
After the tests, classes, presentations, 12-hour clinical rotations and sleepless nights had ended, I figured nursing would be a piece of cake. Graduation was the final step in what seemed like a eternity of schooling.
Taking care of people’s lives is no small task, but I felt like if I could handle nursing school, I could take on the world. Boy, was I wrong!
Looking back on it now, I realize that nursing school was a mere foundation for what I’ve learned in the real world of nursing. My professional experiences make school seem like a vacation.
I never realized how much I would discover being hands-on. I could never imagine how deeply I would actually impact so many people’s lives.
There have been a lot of wonderful and terrible moments in my nursing career thus far. I’ve seen some of the most amazing miracles and some of the more devastating heartbreaks.
I’ve held a newborn baby mere seconds after it was born, and I’ve held the hand of a patient as they took their last breath.
Nothing in school could prepare me for what was to come.
No textbook or video could’ve explained how many life lessons I would learn from my profession. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret becoming a nurse in the slightest. It’s been the most rewarding thing I could ever do.
However, I will say that I’ve learned a lot along the way. Some of the main lessons I’ve learned are:
1. Someone always has it worse:
As humans, it becomes so easy to throw ourselves a pity party. It’s so easy to think, “Poor me, what have I done to deserve this?” We’ve all done it because it’s part of our genetic makeup.
I would never minimize what someone is going through, but I’m here to tell you, my friend, that there is someone out there going through things we couldn’t even imagine. Just remember to count your blessings.
2. Each day is a gift:
One practice I’ve tried to implement in my daily routine is to wake up and thank God for my blessings before my feet ever touch the ground.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our hectic day. We wake up, get ready, make the kids breakfast, get them ready for school, send them on their way, head to the office, get off work, cook dinner, get everyone bathed, lie down and repeat the next day.
So many people out there are praying for things that we take for granted. Take a single moment to thank God for what He’s given you.
3. Age is merely a number:
While I’ve known this little fact for a while, I never understood the entirety of its meaning.
I’m an old soul, a 50-year-old in a 25-year-old body. I’ve seen patients less than half my age face battles that I don’t think I could handle. I’ve seen 95-year-old women with the fight of a child.
Our physical age doesn’t define us, it’s simply a record-keeper of how many years we’ve inhabited the Earth. No matter what stage of life you are in, remember that age is only a number.
4. Miracles are real:
Growing up Baptist, I’ve always believed in miracles. For some, it’s hard to believe that Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, and that He rose from the grave.
I’ve never once doubted these biblical miracles, but seeing what I call a New Age miracle will truly open your eyes.
I’ve witnessed people walk after years of being paralyzed. I’ve seen people literally walk away from crashes that no one was expected to survive.
I’ve watched children courageously beat cancer and patients who woke up after months of being in a coma. To say there is no God is crazy to me, because I’ve seen His work firsthand.
5. Life is short:
Becoming a Pediatric Registered Nurse has always been my lifelong dream, but I never imagined the huge amount of emotional, mental and physical stress that comes with the job.
Life is short seems like such a cliche line, but unfortunately it’s so true. Whether you’re two months old or 82 years old, time waits for no one.
I learned this lesson when my best friend passed away at only 14 years of age, but now I see it reiterated on a daily basis. I will forever live my life to the fullest.
Being a nurse has shown me some of the most amazing and most brutal things. Every single day I learn something new, I see something new.
Technology, medications and nursing-based practices are constantly changing, but one thing remains the same… the desire I have to care for others to the best of my ability.
I’ve learned to care for people without judgment, and how to effectively use my compassionate nature to help those in need. That’s the greatest lesson of them all, “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”
So next time you see a nurse, please tell them Thank you. You’ll never know how much that truly means to us.
Myka Shantell is a blogger, singer, and Pediatric RN from the small town of Petrolia, TX, who has always enjoyed inspiring others. By the age of 25, she has already achieved a nursing degree, a fulfilling 8-year run with her band, and started her own blog, Thoughts of an Anxious Mind, which she uses to document her life with anxiety. After college, Myka began working and writing on a daily basis, saving lives by day and sharing motivational compositions by night. Myka’s ultimate goal in life is to find true meaning and happiness while encouraging others along the way. She has fierce perseverance and a unique heart that she plans to share with the world.