As soon as I heard the words, “there’s been an accident” my world was turned inside out and upside down. It was like I could SEE everything physically crumbling around me. My cousin, who had always been more like a big sister to me, had been in a wreck.
Her car flipped seven times. Seven. Seven flips where my cousin and her one year old in the backseat were passing in and out of consciousness. During one of those flips, my cousin’s seatbelt broke and she was thrown under the car. The car hit a tree, caught on fire, and things were going up in flames, literally. After multiple resuscitations, being airlifted to the number one trauma center in the state, multiple surgeries, weeks in the intensive care unit, and more rehab than anyone thought was humanly possible, my cousin lived.
ICU is a scary place. It’s filled with machines that seriously look like they belong at NASA, and sometimes those machines are the only things keeping a person alive. I spent hours and hours waiting outside of ICU to get to visit my cousin for maybe 15 minutes. All of that time spent in the hospital gave me a lot of time to think, and it gave me a lot of time to observe. What I observed were the nurses. The nurses who provided tissues to family members who were having possibly one of the worst days of their lives. The nurses who talked to their patients, even when it seemed like they couldn’t hear them because they were unconscious. The nurses who smiled and said, “its okay to hold her hand, it won’t hurt her.” The nurses who CARED. The nurses who prayed over their patients and who rejoiced with every stabilized vital sign and every opened eye. It was a nurse who was there when my cousin opened her eyes for the first time in nearly a month. It was a nurse who had taken care of her for a month, without her even knowing it. It was a nurse silently willing her to keep fighting because she had two beautiful daughters who needed a mother. It was a nurse that was with her every step of the way as she slowly backed away from death’s door.
Those nurses are what made me want to be a nurse. I wanted a part of that beautiful profession, where I could pray for people and be a vessel of Christ for those who were teetering on the edge of life and death. I wanted to be that shoulder to cry on, that hand to hold, that gentle smile and soft spoken voice that meant so much to people, but was rarely ever thanked. Being a nurse isn’t just about giving medications and changing bandages. If you are a nurse, you are privileged. You will witness miracles. You will feel more emotion than you’ve ever felt before. And you will grow. As a person, as a professional, and in your faith.
So yeah, you hear that nursing school is hard. And let me tell ya, it is hard. It’s exhausting; emotionally, physically, and mentally. Some days you will feel defeated. You will feel overwhelmed. You will feel like you didn’t try hard enough and like you aren’t cut out to be a nurse. But there will be days where your heart will be overflowing with joy. Where you cry happy tears. Where you first handedly see how powerful the Lord is. You will be humbled that you get to have even a small part in someone’s recovery. You will have a patient that makes the difficulties of nursing school worth it. That patient will forever stick out in your mind and just that memory of such a special patient will help you to keep going when times get tough. Don’t let the rigorous curriculum scare you, it’s preparing you for a job that no one else gets to do after earning a bachelor’s degree- saving lives.