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Being more than a nurse

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Ever since I took the leap into this wonderful profession I have been caught up in the ‘next thing’ or the ‘next step’ in my career. If I wasn’t finding a better job that ‘fit’ my wants and needs I was out exploring the oh-so new world of nursing. I became a ‘sponge’ for any and everything I could experience. Those first couple years I was just getting my footing, trying to figure out what I didn’t want out of my new found career.

Once I found my niche, or my passion (Critical Care) I wanted to find the ‘next best thing’ in my specialty. I then leaped forward at becoming a certified nurse (CCRN). I took a lil’ time to breath but then jumped right back into the ‘next’ game by pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. The BSN lead me to where I am now pursing my Masters degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. I think I always knew I would be a Nurse Practitioner some day, it was never a mater of if, but when.

Personal reflection can be quite educational. We get so caught up in the race to better ourselves and our situation that we literally DO stop ‘seeing the forest for the trees’. The details do matter, but are they really the only thing that matters?

So here it is 6 years later and I’m still playing the ‘next’ game. I’ve been so caught up playing that exhausting game that I’ve missed out on a lot of the ‘now’. I always came up with the excuse that I needed to ‘focus’ on my career (and my studies). I had to study for this, or research that. I look back now and think to myself, ‘boy did I sound like a broken record’.

I walled myself off from all the ‘now’ things to focus on the ‘next’ thing.

I’m not sure what happened, or what changed (I really wish I could put my finger on it), but I decided this summer I would stop playing so hard at the ‘next’ game and slowly reintegrate myself into the ‘now’.

I’ve missed too many family gatherings (birthday parties, holidays, etc.). I’ve passed on too many social outings. I’ve spent one too much time at being the perfect ‘student’ that I’ve failed miserably at being everything else (in my humble opinion). I’m trying to find (and regain) that balance.

I’m reaching out to old friends, spending more time with my wife and my family, and just trying to be a ‘sponge’ for life around me. How great can a career be, and how rewarding can this ‘calling’ become if I miss out on everything else that life has to offer? I’m forcing myself to take a small step away from being the bookworm and to concentrate more on my life.

I guess I’m being so reflective because I do not want to have any more regrets. I’d rather regret getting that B grade in a class (instead of an A), than regret not spending some quality time with the people that make my life worthwhile, or worse, lose touch with them.

I want my life to be more than just the sum of its parts, and as simple as it sounds, I’m learning to be more than a nurse.

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