Why did you become a nurse? Nurses are asked this a lot. Look at the job dedicated nurses do day in and day out. Nurses almost never see people at their best and it’s a sad truth that some people allow their discomfort to come out when they normally wouldn’t. Yet, every nurse loves their job. They speak of it as a calling, a passion, not just a profession. It’s certainly not a career for everyone. Blood, needles, tears and other bodily fluids can make many people uncomfortable. So, why would anyone become a nurse? We’ve found some tremendously inspiring stories about why people become nurses and the pride they take in their jobs.
Nursing in cancer unit is tremendously challenging. There’s a huge emotional toll involved, even though nurses try to keep professional distance. Nurse Jackie Davenport, knew at the tender age of 11 that she wanted to be an oncology nurse. It started with her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Even at that age, she had the compassion, tenderness and love needed to support her mother through the tough time and she found herself amazed at the medical miracles used to keep her mother alive.
Curiosity and love drove her to be her mother’s support system through all the chemo and radiation treatments. She found herself drawn to the warmth and compassion as well as the high-tech treatments and professional demeanor of her mother’s care givers. After her mother went into remission, she went through cancer diagnoses with two other family members. After this, she knew she needed to support and love children who were diagnosed with cancer and her families. All she kept thinking was how heartbreaking such a diagnosis would be for the parent of a child, rather than the child of a parent with cancer.
This compassion became a calling and a career. She provides love, compassion and support to children in her care and her families, each and every shift. She uses her role to advocate for their current health needs and their future ability to thrive.
Learning on the Job
Nurses often say they learn just a much from their patients and they try to teach them. That’s explained perfectly in Renee Thompson’s story of her patient Rosie. At the time, Renee was working on a cardiac care unit. Rosie had come to the unit by way of the ER. She was obese and had a history of medical issues. The ER doctors, after running an EKG, felt Rosie likely had gallbladder issues.
As she tells it, Renee allowed the paperwork to convince her that Rosie didn’t have a heart issue, especially since continued enzyme monitoring seemed to back that up. When Rosie began complaining of chest pains after eating a bucket of fried chicken her family snuck in, Renee was convinced it was due to her gallbladder, but because of hospital protocols she ran an EKG. This went on several times, over many shifts. And then, it happened, the EKG showed Rosie was actually having an MI right then and there. Thankfully, they were able to put in a stent immediately and saved her life. Renee’s lesson from Rosie was not to judge people. She learned to be humble and accept people for where they are, not who she expected them to be.
Nurses like Jackie and Renee who put themselves out there for their patients every day, and continue to learn lessons of humility and acceptance are what make the profession so admirable. Today and every day, we thank all the men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to the profession of helping others. Tell us your story. Why do you want to become a nurse?