Friday, January 16, 2009

Nurturing while Nursing

I started my new job at the emergency room this week and it has already been quite eventful. If you didn't read my last post, then you won't know that I am seriously and prayerfully considering going back into nursing. I said the following:

...I went over to the human resources to get my badge before I left, and I overheard a conversation about how the hospital gives grants to nursing students if they promise to work for them for 2 years. A lot of hospitals do that, but it definitely got me thinking. When I quit nursing the first time around, I was just so burned out with hospitals, and grumpy nurses. I had no sympathy or patience towards the patients, and I just didn't value human life like I should have been. So when I walked across that stage at Biola to receive my degree in Biblical Studies, I felt like God was telling me, "You are ready to be a nurse now..." I have kind of been ignoring that ever since, but God just keeps putting it on my heart. Sooooo - I am seriously going to pray about going back into nursing, and I would appreciate your prayers as well.

Some Pro's for me going back into nursing:
  • I could have a stable, good paying job, for the rest of my life. I would only have to work 3 days a week, and would have 4 days off to volunteer in ministry or in the community.
  • I would be able to help people in their biggest time of need! If I was a nurse, I would definitely stay in the ER world for a bit, and I would just be able to really have an impact on people's lives, when they need it the most. This really excites me.
  • I would be able to travel ANYWHERE and find a job. I can also BE a "traveling nurse". Taking 13 week assignments all over the country. I could work in Chicago, NYC, DC, Seattle...all the big cities I would love to live in (for a short time) one day.
  • I would have the ability to do medical missions overseas. This is the one pro that really motivates me. Over the past two years, I have become so passionate about valuing every single human life - fighting for voices that can't be heard, trying to get food in hungry stomach's, and clean water into bodies. Being able to bring the healing of medicine to people in need all over the world would open up so many doors for me to glorify God.
Please be praying for me as I try to discern if this is where God is leading, and if this is why he brought me back to Orange County, and if this is why I had to get a second job (to become passionate about nursing again). Also be praying as I decide which school I should be gearing my pre-req classes towards. My top choice right now is John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland (Is it not totally beautiful there!?).


Baltimore, Maryland
But they have an awesome accelerated nursing program (because I already have my degree) which would enable me to graduate in 14 months! What do YOU think?!

So my prayer is that in these next few months, God will really show me what He wants from my life. I don't feel at total peace with a future nursing career, but I also don't feel at peace with ANYTHING. This is a strange feeling for me because usually I know exactly what God wants me to do next. I'm in such a weird place in life right now...

Anyway, work has been interesting because I just feel like a completely different person. Some of the girls I work with were asking me about my life and at one point, one of the ladies said to me, "Theology and Nursing?...I just don't see how those fit together..." And I immediately came back and said, "Are you kidding me?! They are a perfect fit! I finally understand how valuable every single life is to God." After I said it I felt kind of silly because the girls were looking at me like I had totally lost my mind (which I guess is a good thing). Then one of the ladies continued to tell me how she has become totally hardened to death, or caring for the patients because she has just seen it over and over again. I can totally relate to her; this is how I used to be, and I hated it! 

At one point, it got so bad in my life that other people started to notice it. Some of my friends thought my hospital stories were funny and amusing, but a good friend of mine started noticing that something was just not right. That friend actually encouraged me to think about leaving the hospital industry because of my attitude, and so I did. I think this was the best decision I have ever made. 

Now that I am back, I feel like I have a different set of eyes, mind, and heart. When I walk into a room with a patient to get the millions of signatures for their hospital stay, I pull up a chair, and I tell them my name. Yesterday there was a very grouchy woman in the ER and everyone was complaining about her. She was 93 and I was just thinking about her. Here is this woman, coming from a nursing home who is completely alone. No one was there with her, and it seemed like no one had visited her in a long time (I am crying just writing about it). I was thinking about her life and how at one point she was just a young woman like me. Now here she is on the brink of death, and no one wants to give her the time of day. So I made sure that I got her chart to go talk with her. I pulled up my chair and sat down to talk with her. She was definitely grouchy, but I just let her tell me how she was feeling. The nurse looked kind of confused as he watched me, but I think he felt motivated to do the same with her... so it was all worth it. 

There was another woman who was younger, and I took the same time to sit down next to her. I think that sitting makes it seem like I am not rushing to get out of the room. After I was done getting everything finished, she exclaimed, "This is the best hospital." I told her I was happy she was having a good experience, and felt really happy that the patient felt that way about her care. 

Finally, I was helping a family who had come in because their husband/father/grandfather was sick. He was dying, and he barely even knew where he was. He couldn't talk, and he was in a tremendous amount of pain. His wife, son, and grandson were all there, and all I could think about was how that woman loved her husband SO much, and she was watching him die. Then I looked at him and all I wanted to do was go to him and touch him on his face so that he knew that someone...a stranger...valued his life enough to do so (because he was entirely yellow and that can gross people out sometimes). 

After all of these events (and more), I realized a really important key to caring for people - nurture. I talked about nurture a few blog posts ago in relation to parents nurturing their children, and how important that is (and I will write a blog about that soon), but nurture is also so important for nurses and doctors (and anyone coming in contact) with their patients. The dictionary defines nurture as to "feed and protect". I think that "feed" comes into play as we give medicine, and build up a person's energy to live as a healthy person again. And "protect" comes into play as we put their interest's above our self interest's in everything we do, WITH a good attitude. Nurses must be the patient's advocate. Just as my mother nurtured (and still nurtures) me by always being there for me, taking my side, and telling me the honest truth when I am in the wrong, nurses must show that same love towards their patient. 

Last night one of the girls I work with said to me, "I think it's funny when the newbies rush to get a nurse because someone comes in with chest pain. They don't realize that people just say that to get in faster." I started thinking about that statement, and how I truly DO look like a newbie because of how nice I was being to all the patients. Mostly everyone seems pretty burned out in that ER, and I got a little nervous about standing out so much amongst all of my coworkers. But the more I have been thinking about it, the more I am like, heck, let me be the one to stand out! Hello Carrie, you are supposed to look different than everyone else in this world! 

I love being able to glorify God in this way. 

It's a lot of work, and I know it will be challenging, but it is so awesome.    


Anonymous said...

Awesome post Miss Carrie. I hope that God gives you the ability to keep up this positive attitude in such a seemingly negative environment.

Love Jessie

Shannon said...

carrie-------------- the installation was done LAST spring.... and it was only up for a few days. so, the only thing left of it is those pictures!

jordaan said...

i got it carrie! ready?

..ok soak this in

ready? here we go;



blythe said...

wow, carrie! that's awesome! i can totally see that for you! how exciting!! :)

Carrie said...

Jordan - how bout noooo

Blythe - i'm glad you finally have the time to read my long blogs! ;)

Shannon - bummer...

Jessie - thanks for the encouragement! i can always count on you for that!