Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I want to be a nurse

Every semester...they ask..."why do you want to become a nurse?" The answers range all over the map but there are several repeated over and over. "I want to help people" "I like medicine" "The money is good and it has job security"

All of those are true for sure but the answer to that question is so important to future nurses. It's an answer we should never forget, but unfortunately it happens.

The answer to that question when I was in first semester went a little something along the lines of me always being interested in the medical field because of my mom, and the desire I had to learn and be immersed in that fascinating world.

The answer to that question when I was in second semester changed. During my clinical experience I took care of a patient that was very ill when I was caring for him. He happened to still be in the hospital when I returned the following week. He was doing much better and I stopped by to say hi. He genuinely thanked me for everything we did to help him. In my head I was thinking, gosh...we didn't do that much. Then I realized. What seemed so little to me was huge to my patient. That moment sums up why I want to be a nurse. To make those little moments improve the lives of others.

The answer to that question once again changed. In third semester I found my calling. I had always said I wanted to work in one of a few places: labor and deliver, pediatrics, or the ER. We experienced all three during this semester and I learned so much about myself. I learned that I can't handle pediatrics. I learned the ER is just as awesome as I thought. I learned that the one place I want to be forever is by the side of a laboring mom. Getting the privilege of cheering her on, offering encouragement, and sometimes a hand to squeeze. To be a part of the process of birth is the most gratifying, beautiful, wondrous thing. To watch the faces of two new parents as they lay eyes on their child for the very first time. There is no better place to be. I will never forget the first delivery I attended as a student. I will never forget that baby's name or the look shared between his parents. I want to become a nurse because I genuinely love my patients. I want to encourage, I want to be there when a hand needs holding, I want to share my passion for all things pregnancy and birth, I want to make a new mom or dad's lives a bit easier, I want to be the ears that listen to fears and the words that soothe them, I want to be the one who reassures. I want to be the pillar in a new unsteady place. When you find your passion you know it. A part of your heart seems to physically ache when you are away from it. Every day I work I have to walk past the labor and delivery unit. I feel that pull, I know where I belong, I know where I'm supposed to be without any shadow of a doubt.

I'm in my first week of fourth semester now. It's the final one. It was not in school where I had yet another momentous experience, but at work as an extern. I met a patient who was me. A young lady who needed my help. A young lady who I understood so fully when nobody else could. She was me and I was her. I firmly believe I was put in her room for a reason and this was it. She knew she wasn't alone in the world and somebody else had walked her path before. The look in her eyes will never leave my brain. The look of being understood, finally. I held her hand, gave her comfort, helped her understand what she needed to do next. I hugged her. I cried with her. I listened to her. I may not have changed her life in just one day but I became a part of it. I hope my touch started a ripple. Of course I don't know what happened after she left but I know I still think about her and pray for her every single day.

 On December 12th I will be standing on a stage while somebody (I still haven't picked who yet) places a pin on me signifying my completion of the RN program. That little pin represents every tear cried, every minute spent away from my children and husband, every pound gained, every victory dance, every breakdown, every hour spent studying, several hundred gallons of coffee, and the blood, sweat and other bodily fluids on my shoes that were not my own. That little pin represents all of the hard work I have put in because I want to be a nurse.

These experiences can't really be put into words very well. They do not fit neatly into a little box of why I want to be a nurse because there is no way to confine what it is to be a nurse. These experiences and many more like them are exactly why I chose this profession. Nursing is a science and an art. It is a profession of compassion, skill and dedication. It can only be described in human experience and emotion, not words.

Friday, July 25, 2014

50 Shades of No Thanks

     The internet is buzzing with activity over the newly released trailer for 50 Shades of Gray (or is it Grey? I don't know). Women are practically lining up to be the first to see the big screen adaptation of the bestselling book. I won't be one of them, and if you have any respect for women as a whole you won't either. 

     I will admit, I read the books. In my defense I had no idea what they were about when I bought them. Seriously. I live under a rock. All I saw was a bunch of hype around this book, and heard how amazing it was. I saw it at every store I went to. I love to read and I hadn't sunk my teeth into a good book in awhile so I picked up a copy to see if it really was as good as it sounds.

     I got the book home and started reading. Then I realized what kind of book it was, no wonder nobody was talking openly about what it's content was. It. Is. Porn. Flat out...that's what it is. The gratuitous use of various slang terms for male and female anatomy as well as sexual terms belonged more in the pages of a magazine with the black plastic all over it than in a bestselling book sold at Kmart. If I were smart I would have stopped reading it once I reached the first page that made me look up and question myself as to what on Earth my eyes were seeing. I'm not all that smart sometimes unfortunately.

     I kept reading it because I had to find out what happened to the characters, I was already sucked in. There is a thin plot to the whole thing, and it is easy to become emotionally invested in the characters. I needed to know what happened to Ms. Anastasia Steele. There is a thread of a love story somewhere in all of the domination and masochism. I tried to look past the terrible things the main character, Christian (irony eh?), would do in the name of so called love. This was a mistake, because I kept reading.

     I later found out the book was a shined up version of fan-fiction written based on the Twilight series. Of course I liked the was Twilight with a twist. It's about a young, vulnerable girl who meets a strong, mysterious, and troubled man. They fall in love and the rest is history. Except...Edward respects Bella and would never intentionally hurt her. Actually he repeatedly tries to prevent her from getting hurt over and over and would rather deprive himself of the love of his life than have her be condemned to the difficult life that vampire immortality offered. He wants nothing more than for her to be happy. He does not desire to dominate her in anyway. Side note: Edward was also instant on no sex before marriage, they don't end up in bed until well into book 4 after the wedding. 50 shades...they are in bed by chapter 3. 

     50 shades...totally different story. Christian desires nothing more than to dominate Anastasia. He desires to inflict pain on her, he desires her submission for his own pleasure. At no point did I get the idea that he was genuinely, selflessly in love with her. I got the impression that he was more happy to have found such a vulnerable and weak woman to play his sick games and bend to his will unquestioningly.

     Curiosity is dangerous sometimes. I finished the first book and had no intention of reading the remaining two. Then somebody had to tell me how the series ended. Then I just HAD to know how these two characters who were obviously not in love
                                                       ********SPOILER ALERT********

end up married and having a baby. I mean really...this is not the kind of relationship which a child is a welcomed thing. Actually, he is furious and punishes her for it. No marriage should ever be what theirs is. 

     50 Shades of Grey is dangerous. Why? because it perpetuating a warped, twisted idea of love, not to mention it is very poorly written. Sure, there are people who might respond to this idea by saying, "but if that's what two consenting adults like then it's fine!" Whatever you want to do with your husband or wife is none of my business but that being is not painful, love is not vindictive, love is not meant to cause bruises and emotional scars. Love is not what Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele have. Love is a mutual trust, love is gentle, love is understanding. Christian Grey has none of those to offer.

     I read the books out of curiosity and it did me no favors. It did not sit well with my husband either, I mean I would be furious if he sat down next to me and started reading through the pages of Hustler. My sitting down to read 50 Shades was just as bad, but I didn't see it until I was honest with myself about what I was reading. I convinced myself it was a love story, but it wasn't. It was the complete opposite of what true love is. I had to be honest with myself and realize I shouldn't have read those books. I should have put it down the instant I realized what I had bought and never picked it up again.

     How such a book gained so much mainstream popularity I cannot fathom. Perhaps it is a symptom of our twisted culture in which women are told they don't need a man. So they look to books like 50 shades to provide some emotional and physical stimulation. Or perhaps it's our culture's twisted view on marriage. Marriage is no longer a living thing to be cared for, and nurtured. It is disposable, easy to throw out at the first sign of wear. Why work on an unhappy marriage when you can ignore the problem and find happiness in a fictional relationship instead? That's a whole lot easier.

     I learned from my mistakes of reading the books and I will adamantly refuse to watch the movie out of respect for my husband, my marriage and women. I can't unread what I have already read but I can be aware of what I allow in to my head in the future. I can be on guard for poisons which can come in seemingly harmless containers. Poisons which can wind their way in my life, subtle in their careful destruction.