The first year of being a nurse is a journey. I should say, perhaps, (and assume fully to be true) that being a nurse in general is a journey. However, I can, as of now, attest only to the first year. I recently passed my one year mark as a pediatric critical care nurse. The journey has, thus far, been incredible. One of learning, terror, joys, nerves, laughter, tears, mounting self-assurance, and overwhelming insecurity.
I have days that bring me great joy; fulfillment in my work, the feeling of really making a difference. Days where I see progress and healing and rejoicing among parents and children alike for the obstacles they've overcome. I have days of frustration where I feel like nothing can go right, no one appreciates me, no one listens to me, and I can never seem to catch up. Then there are days of humility where the strength, perseverance, and optimism of my patients and co-workers uplift me and reminds me of the blessings in my life that I take for granted almost daily. There are days too, where pain, suffering, defeat and even death seem to encroach from all sides. Days where it seems to take more strength than I possess to make it through a shift.
But at the end of any combination of these days, I have to say, 1 year into it, I am proud to be a nurse. I am proud to work alongside some of the smartest and most caring, understanding, helpful, and encouraging nurses I could ever imagine. I feel blessed. Not only because of the enjoyment and fulfillment I get out of work. Nor just because of the amazing people I work with and meet. No, I feel most blessed to experience the joys of human reality day in and day out. Not many people see true joy, true sorrow, true thanksgiving, true desperation, and true rejoicing as often as I do. Sometimes all in the same shift.
So, I may not be a great nurse; though I have learned much, there is sooo much more for me to learn. But knowing now what the world of nursing really is and working with the amazing nurses that I strive one day to be like, I am incredibly PROUD to be able to call myself one at all. Thankful, that HE has brought me to this place in life. So, if you know a nurse, give them a hug :-) now that you know what each day may bring. They might appreciate one, they might even need one, but if not, I can almost assure you that they are, as always, ready and willing to give one.