Well, I start work on the floor on Tuesday. I’m getting myself mentally prepared. I now have my 6th travel badge in hand. On my way home (to our new apartment, not SC) I was thinking of the places where I’ve worked, the people I’ve worked with and how my nursing career started.
I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people over the years and I am definitely not talking about just the people I have met while traveling. It was incredibly hard to leave my unit where I’d worked for 11 years and that was because I was leaving my friends. I read a Facebook post a while back that was a meme that said your coworkers are not your friends. Not so in nursing. We go through some pretty tough stuff, and it’s are coworkers that help us in those situations both during and after. We uplift and encourage one another and when the staffing is sub par we have to help each other out or we’ll drown. And some things about us and our work only other nurses will ever be able to understand- like our sometimes morbid sense of humor and the ability to each a whole meal while talking about sputum and much, much worse.
In high school I took a nursing assisting class at vocational school when I was in the eleventh grade. I feel like this class was a turning point for me because prior to that I don’t think I knew what I wanted to do with my life after high school. I loved the class. I can still remember some of the lessons taught by our teacher. Hand washing, bed making, bed baths- I know how it’s done old school style and I’m not so sure it is taught as strictly as we got it. This class lead me to volunteering in a nursing home, which then lead to employment, as a certified nursing assistant, at the same home. I lasted almost a year there before I decided that I would have to move on or lose my love of nursing.
Next came full time employment at a community hospital- full time 3-11 as a patient care technician- that was the March before I graduated high school. I would work there as a tech throughout nursing school and for about a year and a half or so following nursing school graduation (I spent a total of 6 years working here). I gained a lot knowledge here. I will never forget those nurses that took my under their wing, even as I worked as a patient care tech, and patiently explained procedures, labs, all kinds of stuff.
In nursing school I found out that I really like critical care. After graduating I decided to stay put- where I was comfortable- but after a while I had a desire to try out critical care. So, I transferred to our ‘sister hospital’ and it is here that I learned to be an ICU nurse. Here I spent the next 11 years. Night shift, day shift, cardiovascular nursing and everything else that came through the door- I learned a lot here. And again, the people that helped me go from a scared floor nurse to a scary ICU nurse (just kidding- I’m not scary, but some say ICU nurse are!).
And now travel nursing…. I’m still learning. I go into hospitals and with two days of orientation hit the floor running. I would never have been able to do this without all the amazing nurses that have taught me, encouraged me, cried with me, laughed at me, and worked with me- both past and present.
Happy Nurses Week Y’all!