As I'm waiting for my twelve hour shift to begin I look down the hall to see a pint sized girl in a hospital gown pushing a wheel chair down the hall with delight. Two doors down I see a three year old princess who is neurologically damaged being carried to the playground to play. And as I walk to my floor by the emergency room I note the chaotic yelling and loud sirens of an approaching ambulance . It's funny how crying and yelling and sirens don't bother me much anymore-- hospital sounds have become background noise.
Never in my life did I imagine being a nurse. My ten year old self might have thrown up- or more likely laughed her head off- at the barbarous idea of wearing scrubs, working in a hospital, and giving shots and dressing changes like candy. "Ya right"- I told my friend- my second year of college. "I'm just not nursing material. Who wants to do that anyways?"
I'd always heard the humorous stories of pastors telling God they didn't want to preach and ending up on the pulpit. But I never imagined- despite hating the medical field- being called to serve in that manner. It all started when I prayed that crazy, wild prayer "God take everything. Break and remake my heart for what breaks yours." Never pray that prayer if you don't want God to do big things- and uncomfortable things.
It was right at the beginning of my year in the mission field- in a jungle town- called Pucallpa, Peru where I took my first blood pressures, cleaned my first wounds, and saw my first ever baby die of illness. This place was where I fell in love with missions, and gave away my heart to orphan children. The warm Peruvians and my amazing missionary family changed my heart and made it so much softer. And skip eight months of service and six more months of fighting God and career bargaining, I was finally signed up for nursing school. Like a little tad pole, in a big world of spotted frogs- I had no idea what I was getting into.
And I still don't. I'm only a baby nurse in a hospital full of needy patients. Yet there's so much I've learned- there's so much I'm learning. You see being a nurse, in so different from what many people think. Nursing is both the most joyous and the most difficult, stressful, and emotionally taxing job I have ever done. Sometimes I love being a nurse
- there are moments that I want to jump up and down praising Jesus for changing and softening my hard heart and calling me into such an amazing occupation. Yet other days, after a crushing thirteen hour night shift, my heart is so numb and heavy; I am emotionally exhausted from the pain and needs I've seen.
What I'm beginning to learn is what it means to be a real nurse is that it means to care.
To be a nurse, is to care for people- in my case, sweet children- at the hardest point in their life. To be a nurse is to deal with a family in crisis, to hold a little girl's hand, to explain over and over again that you can't give any more pain medicine with a smile on your face. To be a nurse is to be yelled at, because of a car accident or unexpected illness. To be a nurse is to embrace a mother who is shaking with tears and pray over her for peace. To be a nurse- is to be someone that is there- in the middle of the night, at the most inconvenient hours of the day- a nurse is someone who is always there when you need them. To get you a soda, give a baby a bath, or provide chest compressions and emergency care in times of tragedy- nurses are heroes.
Despite the hardships of nursing, I thank Jesus everyday that He made me a nurse.