Four years ago I began my journey to nursing school. While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder for my first degree I had contemplated transferring to the nursing program. After meeting with an advisor I was more confused than when I went into the meeting. My questions were met with veiled hostility – and the idea of sitting in science classes with 300+ students was enough to keep me sitting pretty in my English Literature classes.
As graduation neared, I grew more and more concerned that while learning to read and write is essential to survival in the work-force I was fairly certain that I didn’t see a future for myself working in a career directly related to English literature.
Having just finished paying for one bachelor’s degree I wanted to make sure nursing was a sound and fitting career, prior to even considering how I was going to pay for another degree. I am well aware of the fact that I am very good at making ‘big’ life decisions, so shortly after graduation, amid a semi-nervous breakdown I began applying for jobs at Hospitals in Denver. Now, when I say I began applying to Hospitals in Denver I should be more specific – I applied to ONE hospital: The Children’s Hospital, [now Children’s Hospital Colorado] over and over again. Much to my father’s chagrin I stubbornly refused to even consider any other options. As luck would have it, after 16 applications, and one interview – four months after initially applying for a job I was offered a position working as an Inpatient Service Specialist.
I had never spent any time in a hospital before, but walking through the doors of the enormous atrium felt somewhat comfortable. It was as if I [for the first time in my life] belonged there.
Up until that point in my life there had always been a disconnect in who I was [personally, morally, ethically, etc.] and those who were working around me. At Children’s I was embraced by my coworkers, for who I was, just as I was.
Over the course of the next six months I was like a sponge, absorbing all the information I could. Then, my biggest fear became reality. At this point I was fairly certain that medicine was where I belonged, where my heart was. I however was terrified that I would be unable to deal with death, especially the death of a child. Working on a medical unit shielded me from many patients who were critically ill, or on the verge of passing. I however was not immune to death. While driving home from the grocery store I received a phone call that forever changed my life. A patient, who I had been very close to, had passed unexpectedly the night before. The feelings that surged through my body were unlike anything I had ever experienced. In the weeks that followed, I made a long drive south for her funeral. On the drive home I realized, that nursing isn’t always about saving someone, or making things all better. I came to understand that Nursing is more about finding a way to make a difference in someone’s life. It was in this patient’s death, that I found direction for my life. I was going to be a nurse.