Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

There’s one you always remember

Prompted by a call for essays on women that have inspired you, I immediately thought of Professor Susie Forehand, a Nursing school instructor that I feared, then respected and admired because she had enough faith in me to push me to be the best I could, even when I wasn’t so sure I’d made the right choice in picking Nursing as my course of study.

Only wanting to confirm dates of her tenure at Valencia, I googled her name and found this great article.

http://www.orlando-times.com/spotlight-susie-forehand.html

At 19, I didn’t understand why her comportment made me feel as if I didn’t deserve to be in the Program. Reading the article, I understand now that she had to work so much harder then I to just be allowed to study Nursing.

On one clinical day, I remember the sweat dripping from my forehead as she stood at my shoulder and quizzed me on the two pills I’d just placed in a medicine cup. She stood close enough that she noticed a drop on my brow.

“Don’t be nervous. You know this.”

That was about as nurturing as she ever got. ( It’s okay – I had cheerleaders in my family wanting only success for me and generous with words of support.)

Better late than never, I need to look her up and find out some way to thank her!

2 Comments »

Taking Chances

5-17-15SusanBartlettHeadshots-0488-2.jpgaward picture

You might make a change in your life at a point where everyone thinks you are supposed to settle in. Some will say, “What are you doing?” or “You’re going backwards!” Most will say “I don’t miss hospital work!”

And you do it anyway because you fought the feeling long enough that something was wrong and it wasn’t going to change until you did.

The belief that we made the right choice can slip in and out of grasp. A bad day that turns into two or three bad days in a row can make you wonder, Did I do the right thing? There may be moments when it looks like everyone else is having more fun than you.

Then validation comes, not just from kind-hearted patients and generous coworkers, but in a big way.

And you know that any uncertainty about the path you are on is never going to return.

*Recipient of Orlando Health Excellence in Nursing Award

21 Comments »

Dirty Little Secret

Although I have a passion for my work, I still sometimes walk around feeling like I have a dirty little secret. And I want to let it out.

It took me almost twenty- five years to truly love my work.

Here’s the story.

When I applied to nursing school, I didn’t care how I was going to earn my future paycheck. I just wanted a grown up job, and three close friends were applying so I thought, Why not. I had no particular interest in studying health sciences, changing bloodied dressings, or holding an emesis basin under the chin of some puking patient. In the three months prior to turning in my transcripts, my only interest had been to land my back handspring on the balance beam. My dream had always been to keep tumbling, to let my feet fly up over my head and watch the world spin around. I was never happier then when tucked into a ball, rotating on my own axis, my focus on my core and nothing else. Gymnastics was my religion, the gym — my church.

Then graduation came, teenage love turned into marriage, and my “Why not” attitude turned into a carrousel ride on the local college’s nursing track program.

There were at least three occasions I thought about quitting. Microbiology was painstakingly boring. Krebs Cycle — don’t even ask me about it. (Go talk to Victo at https://doctorly.wordpress.com.) There is at least one nursing instructor that put such a fear in me that I will remember her name with I am ninety years old.  But I made it through.

Twenty-five years to love my job.

Half of my waking hours are spent at work. So, if I choose to, I could surmise that twenty-five percent of my cumulative consciousness has been time wasted — time — a commodity I find precious. At first, it saddens me to immortalize this fact by typing it on the page.  My only consolation is having pondered my career path from its inception and now understanding why it took so long to love what I do.

In the early years I was afraid — afraid the patients wouldn’t like me, the doctors would belittle me, and the seasoned nurses would find my mistakes before I could double back and check my work. I panicked when given a new task and turned the other way when I saw a doctor coming my way. Much time passed before I was confident of my skills. I maintained a cautious reserved attitude at work, only loosening up a little when I transferred to an OB position on the night shift. The one thing I never found any value in, even after a decade of nursing, was the patient “chat time”. Being pulled to the bedside to hear a story from years gone past was, in my opinion, minutes wasted. I didn’t know what to do with all the emotional purging that transpired each time I was at the patient’s bedside. Talking was time consuming. And when it was all done, I still had as much work to do.

I learned to listen when my daughter reached middle school and became socially active. Now, my hearing didn’t improve because she and I were becoming best buddies. That was hardly the case. I went into case management to accommodate her new schedule (and my additional responsibilities as a single parent). The job involved hours of telephonic work. Listening, patience, and asking the right questions accounted for fifty percent of the time.

My little princess, she grew up and I went back to clinical nursing.

Enough time had passed and with the changes in healthcare, I essentially had to start over. Relearn everything.  Yes, I was nervous at first, several years had passed. One thing is different. I am excited every day I go to work. Knowing I have an opportunity to listen, connect, and be there for someone else, it means everything to me. So in summary, this is what I think happened:

I fell in love with nursing when I was mature enough to love the profession like a woman loves a man, unconditionally, cherishing the moments of synchronicity and enduring the trials that test the relationship. Nursing is not a job for people that don’t want to grow up. Nor is it a job for those that might be considered heavy in the “self-focus” department.

The career crush happens when you can connect with your patients. The connection with the patients comes when you’ve experienced the same sense of vulnerability you see in the eyes of your patients, when you realize you are no different than them…when you know what it means to be human.

30 Comments »

pensitivity101

An onion has many layers. So have I!

ROAD TO NARA

Travels of : ँ : a Yogin

Illustrated by Hannah

A creative space for sketches and canvass prints. Lover of fine liner doodles.

Luna

Pen to paper.

Inspiration for Wellness

Health, Beauty, and Natural Living

James Radcliffe

Meditations on Art and Life

A lot from Lydia

You can learn a lot from Lydia...(It's a song, not a promise.)

well read robin

Adventures in Womanhood