Have you ever thought to yourself? Um, why did I become a nurse again? So often I come home, tired, worn out, and ready to quit my job and look for a new one. Then I really step back, and take a look why I really became a nurse. A little bit about me. When I was about 17-18 years old. I, like a lot of American teens, didn’t know what I wanted to be. I didn’t know what I wanted to accomplish in life. I was always into singing gospel music (yea, #churchlife) but I knew that my talent for singing wasn’t so extraordinary that I wanted to pursue music. So, my Haitian mother STRONGLY suggested that I went to school for nursing. So, I did! At 18 years old, I enrolled into college. I took my mother’s advice and began taking courses that were required to obtain a nursing degree. After years of struggle, through 2 intense programs, by 24 (yes, you saw correctly–it took me 6 years to finish a 2 year degree– story for another time though!) I finally completed Associate of Science: Nursing. My first job was at a little nursing home in Worcester, MA. I was so excited because I thought I was finally going to do what I became so passionate about. But life has a GREAT way of taming you down. I started working there and after the first day, I called my husband and told him that I would give this place 6 months, tops! I was so ready to quit. I hated it! For those of you who work at nursing homes, YOU KNOW how busy it can get. I was taking on up to 27 patients on the day shift. YES, 27 patients!!!!! It was a mad house. I took so many short cuts that made cringe every time I did. But, I had to do it if I wanted to get out on time (which actually never happened anyway *shrugs*). On top of the fact that the work was completely overbearing, I felt completely unsupported. When I arrived, nurses would basically bicker about getting an easier assignment. So most of the time, I had the most tiresome assignment. Additionally, the pay was horrible. You get out of nursing school thinking you’re going to make a decent living. And not that I felt like I deserved $50/hr, but c’mon, my base pay was less than half of that! The worst part about working at this place was that I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE A NURSE. I went into work and popped pills. All that wonderful knowledge that I struggled to learn in nursing school was slowly withering away in my brain and it was driving me insane. Eventually (after 6 months, like I said), I quit! I started working at another nursing home, which had a transitional care unit. I loved that place. The staff were great. The workload was not as intense and I got to actually put some more of my wonderful nursing knowledge to work. I wasn’t making that much more than the first place, but I knew I would stay there because the environment was so much better. But, unfortunately I couldn’t stay because I was only per-diem and I needed an actual full time job. So, I quit that job and now currently work at a rehab facility, which is pretty good. So in the span of 1 year and 8 months, I managed to have 3 different jobs (actually 4 jobs– took a home care job but didn’t really stay). And as crazy as that seems, in retrospect, I loved that whole experience. I’m writing this thinking, I probably would be happier doing some other job, but this job has taught me so much about myself. So many things I DIDN’T want to admit about myself. But if I want to become better as nurse, I know I need to face hard facts! As you’re reading this, thinking about why you became a nurse, write a few hard honest truths about yourself and what you hope to accomplish and change in the future. Here’s my list: 1. I’m pretty much a pansy! Yea, as ashamed as I am of saying that, its true. I realized that as I’ve been employed thus far, I have let people walk over me. I don’t know if it was for the sake of keeping the peace or what it was really about. But, I’ve let nurses, supervisors, nursing assistants talk to me any type of way and its caused me to look weak and incompetent (which I know are not true). I haven’t advocated for myself. But I know that from now until I die, I will start to advocate for myself. The only way that I could be of benefit to my patients is being strong enough to know what I can and cannot handle and what I will not tolerate. Then I truly be a real help to someone else. 2. I am very caring! Sometimes that can be a great thing. I want the best for my patients, but sometimes you have to realize that people will do what they want. My job isn’t to make them change, its to encourage them in the right direction. 3. I want to speed up my experience! Obviously I can’t do that, but I am so eager to do complicated tasks that I get ahead of myself. I need to slow down and realize that I don’t need to be super experienced right this minute. Experience can only come with time. ————————————————————– There are probably 50 more things I can add to this list, but I don’t have the time to write more. All I know is, I became a nurse because I do love the profession. Its not that I love taking care of people (you sort of do that in any profession), its that I love taking care of physically ill people, and I love seeing their progress from sick to becoming as strong as they can be. And although I have had lots of downs, I have equally had lots of ups. I know that I haven’t been in the profession that long, but even in these few short years, I’ve learned so much about myself and what I do hope to accomplish in the future. I can’t wait to do more!!!