Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Nursing Changed My Life, Part 1

I have many things that I would love to write about, but I think starting from the beginning of the program that changed many ways I think about life is a good start.

Once upon a time, what is now almost a decade ago, I was filling out college applications and paying all those tedious application fees. I had just finished my last application when my Grandma called. My Grandma said I should apply to the college in the city she lived in. That way, I could come live with her and keep her company. My Mom splurged on the last application fee and a couple months later, I was shocked and amazed that I got accepted into a general Bachelor of Science university program. I thought I had only applied to colleges so I figured this must be a sign. I promptly moved and left the only life I knew behind.

I met many great people but soon came to the realization that general science did not inspire me. I woke up one night after falling asleep with the TV on. The show that was on was a reality show following doctors and nurses in various areas working for MSF (Médecins sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders). I thought to myself and realized that this is what I really wanted to do! The very next day I applied to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

The program itself wasn't a special nursing course, but that's the funny thing about nursing - it's all about life. How often do we reflect on life (unless of course you're a philosopher, which btw is the original PhD - Philosophy Degree)? Nursing school, for those of you who don't know, is about learning, reflection and reflection upon your reflections.  I can still say that I hate journaling (wait - why am I blogging...?), but that along with the discussions in class and in practice makes you think, a lot, about what and why you do what you do.

One of the most important things I learned was why it's irrelevant to judge people. Note: Nurses must make judgments on the fly in order to make decisions that can save someone's life. The difference that I'm talking about is that those judgments are based with scientific evidence not on personal beliefs. Why don't I think it's relevant to judge people? Mostly because it takes a lot of work to change someone and you can only really change someone if they are open enough to do so. Nursing class is full of these optimistic ideals, but I soon realized that there is very little time with patients on the floor. And yes, there are medical emergencies that will make people want to change, but when you factor in someone's social, economical, educational, etc, statuses, it makes it that much harder for people to change. I'm not saying that people can't change, I'm saying that it's a lot of work and that there are other factors that take precedence. For example, I don't believe that withholding pain medication from a drug addict will make them change, I believe that helping someone and being there for them when they are ready to change works much better. On the other hand, if you are big on the idea not only that you can't change others and only yourself and you're 100% responsible for others, you may find this video interesting.

Now that I am a pediatric RN, and a new mother I have found myself becoming an avid blog reader. What I find lacking in blogs and articles is the elusive non-judgmental perspective. All the comments people write are shocking and, honestly, sometimes horrifying. I'm undecided as to if it's the style of writing, the perspective of the author or the biased judgments of other people. Whatever it may be, I hope to write about many different subjects and I promise to make my topics as non-judgmental as possible from a scientific nursing background and from a mothers' perspective. My next blog will be about something I researched in my third year of nursing: How what we throw in the trash ends up in our bodies.

Always good to end with a pretty picture, no?

Until next time,


  1. I enjoyed reading your blog... especially the comment on journaling for class.. lol.
    Congrats on doing this, I look forward to reading more...
    PS - lets do a MSF stint... :)

  2. Thanks Kim! I did have a number of other posts I started to write, but wasn't sure that they were interesting or focused enough... lol! Glad you're enjoying it :)

    And definitely we should do MSF, it's one of my life goals.