When you meet someone for the first time, they more often than not ask what your profession is. I am never shy to admit that I am an oncology nurse, but I always dread the responses. I typically receive the comments of how difficult my job is, how much cancer sucks, or how do I deal with people dying.
"Being a nurse humbles me each and every day."
I was in high school when I first discovered that I wanted to become a nurse. Growing up, my mother was in and out of emergency rooms and doctor's offices, but I never appreciated the medical field. I was angry that my mother was suffering in pain and that nobody could seem to fix it.
During those countless doctor visits with my mother, her primary medical doctor often encouraged me to seek my MD. He must have seen in me before I ever did, the intellect and compassion needed to endure the medical field. During a career fair my junior year, I was encouraged to apply for a nursing assistant's course and for a new pathophysiology course being offered on school grounds. One thing quickly led to another and by the time I was graduating high school, I was already working in home health care and about to move to sunny San Diego to obtain my BSN.
"Being a nurse is not who I chose to be, it is who I was made to be."
The four years I spent in the library or at clinicals learning what it meant to be a nurse was nothing compared to the knowledge I've gained working in the field now. I ultimately went into this field wanting to build connections with others and to help them get better. I wanted to make miracles happen, but in a swift seven months I have started to lose that hope. It can be discouraging to see howI am quickly becoming trained to pay attention to time constraints and required documentation, rather than providing the compassionate care nurses are known for; a common shortfall of hospitals becoming more money-oriented.
While patients may not see me in their room for more than an hour's time, they need to know that I am out there fighting for their care. It is my responsibility as a caretaker to ensure that they receive the best treatment, even while they lay there cursing me out and refusing to accept that we are, in fact, a team.
"I will continue to wake up each morning with a positive, cheerful attitude in hopes of making your day just a tad bit better while you are in the hospital."
The truth is that yes, my job is not easy. But I am the one who is lucky to walk alongside my patients during their most difficult times. Being a nurse humbles me each and every day. I am able to make unique connections with individuals while providing care to them for a short twelve hours makes all the pain and suffering worthwhile.
As I approach my first official Nurses Week as a nurse I couldn't be more thrilled. Not only do I love that for one day my patients might actually remember to be patient with me and thank me, but also that this day restores my hope and love for why I became a nurse. I understand that being a nurse is not always pleasant. But being a nurse is not who I chose to be, it is who I was made to be. So I will continue to wake up each morning with a positive, cheerful attitude in hopes of making your day just a tad bit better while you are in the hospital.
About the author:
Megan Arriola RN, BSN is a recent graduate of her nursing program and began working as a registered nurse in a medical-oncology unit. For the last year and a half, Megan has shared her journey of becoming a nurse on her wildly popular personal blog, where her followers could read about her stories as she finished nursing school, passed the nclex, and worked her first RN job.