Because you never look as good to yourself as other people do, I have a fear of ending up with a nurse like me when I have surgery. I know deep down that I’m a good nurse, that I do everything expected of me and more, but I see all the little linty corners of my own brain as I’m working. I know all the places I skimp so that I can spend time on stuff I think is more important, like just sitting with a patient at 3 a.m. I know how resentful I can be toward a resident. I know how hard I try and how hard I work, but somehow I never seem to be as good as the people I work with, whom I idolize.
6. I would never, ever, ever do anything else.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, would I keep working? You bet my rapidly widening butt I would. I love what I do with a fierceness I never expected I would feel, and I love my patients—even the ones who drive me crazy—the same way. Nursing has its moments of sheer boredom and repetition, as well as soul-searingly hard, gross, dirty work, but when it’s good, there’s nothing like it. There is no better feeling than having somebody say to me, “I was scared before, but you made me feel better.” There are no words that’ll make my shoulders straighten faster than “Thank you, Nurse.”
I want to get better at my job every time I do it. I want to do everything right, keep improving my skills and keep learning new things. Every interaction I have, no matter which side of the bed I’m on, is an opportunity for me to do better at my job. And I love that.
7. Because of all of these things, both bad and good, I am incredibly lucky.
Most people get the chance to touch two or three lives in a meaningful way. I’ve got my two or three, and I’m only a third of the way into my career. I am the most fortunate woman I know. I work harder than any of my friends. I have more heartache than most people. I work crazy hours, my feet hurt and occasionally my job is dangerous and dirty.
I am a nurse. And I still grin ear to ear when I say that.