I was thirteen years old when I really experienced death for the first time. My grandfather was diagnosed with an awful neurodegenerative disease when I was young and over the years I watched him decline to the point where he was unable to do almost anything by himself. He was admitted to a long-term care unit in a small hospital where he would spend his last days. It was awful having to watch my grandfather slowly turn into a completely different person from the disease.
All I remember wanting was to be able to help him in some way. I watched nurses assist him with the most basic daily living activities like brushing his hair, taking him to the bathroom, and feeding him, but I also saw them set up his IVs and give him medication. I could not believe how much of a difference these nurses were making in my grandpa's life. I remember wondering how the nurses could be so smart and know so much about how to take care of my grandpa.
From that moment on I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
I won't lie to you and say that I have never questioned my decision on becoming a nursing major. Because let me tell you, when it's 4 a.m. and I have to roll out of bed for clinical, after only getting three hours of sleep since I spent all last night studying for a huge exam later in the week, I have 100% questioned why I chose the nursing life.
There are also some very hard days at clinicals that make me wonder if I can handle such a difficult profession. No matter how many times I am exposed to it, I don't think death will ever get any easier for me. Finding out your patient has died is one of the absolute worst feelings when you're a nurse.
There have been many times when I have found myself holding back tears while at clinicals. While many of those times I am holding back tears of sadness, there are also wonderful times that bring me to tears as well.
Watching a family cry and hug one another in rejoice because their loved one's condition has improved and being there for a child's first breaths are a couple of the amazing and wonderful experiences that have nearly brought me to tears. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on my patient's lives.
And while they may not know it, each and every single one of them has left an impact on my life as well.
So while nursing may be stressful, difficult, draining, exhausting, antagonizing, etc... (it's April and tests and projects are piling up so the the list could honestly go on and on) there is no other major or profession I would rather be in!