This spring, my husband is starting a rotation in a hospital, as part of his seminary program, to complete a CPE unit for chaplaincy. I never thought we would both be doing hospital work, but I am really excited for him to be in my neck of the words. When we married 17 yrs ago we had no idea we would both end up working in a hospital!
Anyway, the other night he came home after his first orientation meeting and said he felt very overwhelmed by the hospital environment. My first instinct was to tell him he’ll get over it…
Instead, I kept my mouth shut (for once) and listened as he explained how nervous he was (unusual for him) and how he hoped he could help people in the midst of trauma, birth to death, extreme illness and grief.
Then he asked, “Were you scared when you first started all this nursing stuff?” How soon he forgets: I was a bit of a basket case in nursing school and in my first job! He stuck through it all.
Of course, he wasn’t there the first time I walked into a patient’s room, my heart pounding. Or the time I had to place a catheter in my first male patient, and how my hands shook. Or my very first day on the job as a new nurse and how I spent most of it in the bathroom with diarrhea.
Can we really relate to others how it feels to profoundly impact other people’s lives–whether we physically save them, psychologically keep them safe, or spiritually support them? Unless you are there with us, on the floor as a nurse, doctor, social worker, physical therapist, chaplain, CNA (the list goes on) you will never know the fear–the JOY–involved in hospital work. It is heaven and hell, I think!
It takes a brave person to walk into a patient’s room for the first time and offer to help. Healthcare workers are heroes. I’m so proud of my husband for stepping up and walking into my world!