It never fails. Whenever someone finds out what I do they inevitably ask, "Why did you want to be a nurse?". 'Good question' is usually what I end up saying. But the truth is - sometimes I sit back and wonder myself how I ended up here. Why did I chose a job that would make me witness to some of the saddest, most horrific moments of a person's life? A job that requires me to do shiftwork, which research shows shortens a person's lifespan? A job that requires me to handle medications, such as chemo, that if I get too much on me, could give me cancer? Good question.
I didn't always want to be a nurse. Up until I was 14 I wanted to be a teacher. An elementary school teacher. Then my grandfather had a stroke. I spent that whole summer visiting him. Everyday my mom and I would head over to see him. I fell in love with the hospital. Sounds weird I know. But I really did. I was fascinated with the equipment. I was amazed at how the doctors and nurses cared for the patients around me. I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be a doctor.
I could go on for awhile about why I'm not a doctor. But the short version is - I didn't get in. I applied to medical school a couple of times, interviewed, got short listed and then didn't get in. Don't feel bad for me. Please. I truly believe things in life happen for a reason. I wasn't meant to be a doctor. I was meant to be a nurse. You see doctors are removed from patients. Nurses are side by side. Taking every step with the patient. We're the ones applying the cold facecloth on the febrile patient. The one holding the hand of the crying, fearful patient. The one hugging the husband who just lost his wife of 66 years. My life directed me to nursing for a reason. To be there for others. Cheesy? I know it is. But it's true.
So here I sit on a nightshift - shortening my lifespan. But hopefully I'm also making a difference in a few people's lives at the same time.