Thursday, May 31, 2012
Pressing pause on my life as a nurse
I'm sitting here in bed, trying to wind down for a big day ahead of me..one that will mark a milestone in many different ways. Tomorrow is my last day of work as a nurse on the Neurosciences Unit at Baylor University Medical Center. Wow, two years in "big girl" land..two years behind me and I finally feel like a competent and safe practicing RN. While it feels like one week ago today I was walking across the stage, proudly accepting my nursing pin and anxious to know what would lie ahead, I think of how much has come between that time and now.
On that day, my mother was "healthy" (as much as she could have been with a cancer diagnosis of 4 years under her belt) and literally running around the TCU campus with my then fiancé to take pictures before the big ceremony. Just two months later, I would have to make the crucial decision to put my new job at the hospital on hold to take care of my own mother in her last days. The time spent with her during those intimate days was invaluable and I am forever grateful for those moments. Talk about surreal. I feel beyond blessed that God gave me the greatest gift....time. Time to thank, time to laugh, time to cry, time to cuddle, time to say goodbye, time to reassure that my sister and I would be taken care of....
I get to thinking of that precious time with my mother, sister, family, and friends...because it was my job at Baylor that gave me complete acceptance to leave without hesitation. I don't feel like I can thank my manager enough for being so understanding when I had only been there a month and a half. My co-workers have supported me every step of the way, whether they knew what I was going through or not. My first year as an RN was spent on the Night Shift...7pm-7am. Talk about total zombie I was. Not only was I grieving the loss of my mother, but also adjusting to married life and living with a species of the opposite sex! Ronnie was so patient with me as we would "pass through the night", literally high fiving from our cars in the parking lot. Don't think I could say that I was cutting it in the "wifely duties" department haha!
Anyways, I created such a special bond with my co-workers on the night shift. We all worked very well as a team and offered emotional support to each other, professionally and personally. Most of our deep conversations occurred at 3 am when the patients were (hopefully!) sleeping and we were trying to stay awake...or we were bonding over performing a code blue in an intense situation together. Here, I gained confidence in my nursing practice and bedside manner. When a spot finally opened up on the day shift, my wifely instincts started to kick in, and my life was better balanced overall. I was able to accept more responsibility and get involved on committees and such.
I have learned SO much more in the past two years on the floor than I ever did in school (not to say I didn't learn A LOT in nursing school). Some nights I come home physically exhausted..feet swollen...feeling like my legs are going to fall off if I have to stand on my feet for another second...can't say another word because I have been talking in my "peppy Kelsey" voice for 14 hours. Other nights, I lay awake at night...wondering if my patients biopsy results will show a malignant brain tumor...to as simple as hoping my patient got a full nights rest, free of pain. While I do tend to complain to some family and friends about my "long hours" and manual labor, it makes it all worth it when you come home after work knowing you made a difference in someones life. Cheesy I know, but a testament that any nurse can vouch to.
So, I have laid out my navy blue scrubs and clogs for the last time..for a while at least (no wrinkles or dog hair residue this time). I don't think it will hit me for a while now. Guess all I can do is appreciate the time I did have and know I will be a better nurse when I get back because of my experiences. Don't worry, already have my books to fall back on in Oz Land in case I get a little rusty. For those that are still wondering, I will not be practicing as an RN over there...at least thats not the plan for now anyways.
Thats my ramble...can't really find the words to say thinking about pausing my nursing career for a bit. Wish me luck!