When I got the email for my high school reunion (which never ended up happening) in 2011, I didn’t feel old. When I turned 30 two years ago, or even when I turned 32 a month ago, I didn’t feel old. What makes me feel old? The 10 year anniversary of graduating from university with my degree in nursing. TEN YEARS! I guess when I think about it, it does seem like a lifetime ago.
I purposefully don’t blog about my life as a nurse very much because it would be unethical of me to share personal stories from work (nor do I want to) and because my health region is extremely sensitive towards social media, to the point which I questioned even naming myself as a nurse in this blog title! Sometimes I still feel like a rookie nurse. It doesn’t seem like I have had a real career for 10 years now. Maybe my 2+ years of maternity leave takes away from that feeling of 10 years and sometimes I feel I don’t want to give myself the responsibility as a (dare I say) seasoned nurse!
Since I don’t share much about my nurse life, here is my history of nursing:
- 2001 – Accepted into Grant MacEwan College rural nursing program, 2nd year in it’s existence. Moved to Wainwright, AB and met some of my very best friends, that are still my very best friends today
- 2002 – The program moved to Camrose, AB which was very special to me because I got to live with my grandma
- 2003 – I transferred to the University of Alberta to finish my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, at this time the diploma program was still available through Grant Mac
- 2005 – I get my final preceptorship somewhere other than acute care! I won the lottery and was placed in the Misericordia Hospital’s operating room and I fell in love with OR nursing; I also graduate in May
- 2005, summer – I get a job in the Camrose hospital and stay with my grandma, it’s time I cherished very much
- 2005, fall – I decide it’s time to come back home to mom & dad’s and I get hired on at the Stollery Children’s Hospital on the pediatric surgical floor
- 2006, spring – My temporary position ends on the floor so I apply to another temp position in the peds OR, get hired and train on the job
- 2007, summer – We get married, I stay at the farm with Jay for the rest of the summer and I’m hired casual in one of our rural hospitals
- 2008, February – Medical mission to Quito, Ecuador with an orthopedic team—Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA). An absolute blast, and absolute blessing.
- 2008, May – Jay graduates from university, I say goodbye to my jobs as a peds nurse and make the permanent move to the farm & work the summer in the rural hospital
- 2008, December – I get hired in our other rural hospital, which is closer to us, in ER
After my first maternity leave, I just went back to work at our closer hospital in ER. I absolutely love the ER, it’s where I had always wanted to work, the commute was better and I was getting enough hours anyway. Being a farm wife and mom, it works best for us that I work as casual (on an “as needed” basis), meaning that I don’t have a set schedule, I just work when there’s shifts available, vacation days, sick calls, empty rotations, etc. Jay and I are each other’s child care and it works perfectly for us. I get 6ish weeks off in the spring for seeding/spraying and I get about the same amount of time off in the fall for harvest. I work as much as I can in the winter, steadily through the summer and I truly love my job.
My 10 Truths About Nursing
- Children are the best patients – When kids are sick, they are SICK. They don’t mess around, they aren’t faking it and they want to get better faster than adult patients do. I really miss peds nursing, but we do get a lot of peds patients in ER
- Nurses can (and do) talk about poop at the supper table – It’s true. We can discuss anything and everything on meal breaks and still stomach our food.
- Nurses have bladders of steel – I am pretty sure I have worked many 12 hour shifts never going to the bathroom just because I was so busy, took a late break, and then forgot to go. (Mind you, this was mostly before I had kids!)
- Make friends with the unit clerks – I was told this as a nursing student and it’s advice I give to any nursing student I meet. Unit clerks are the secretaries (and so much more) of nursing units and you want them to be your friend, they have lots of strings to pull!
- I hate toenails and flushing ears – Those are the tasks in our ER I refuse to do and will gladly do pretty much anything else and will beg my colleagues to do it for me. (We all have our vices. Some hate IM injections, some hate pushing drugs in a code, we all have our “thing” we hate to do!)
- Addicts are people and they have a disease – It’s because my father died of alcoholism that brought this truth to me. I have learned to see beyond the symptoms that can make addicts less-than-pleasant people to deal with and I see a bit of my dad in them and hope that I can help make a difference, even a small one
- I might seem not compassionate, but I have to – I often wonder if my patients, especially in triage, think I’m robotic with no emotions? If I connected with every single patient I encountered, I’d be emotionally drained. I have to put on my figurative nursing hat if I want to be professional and to be able to do my job. It’s taken a lot of time, but trust me—I do care even if I may not show it outwardly
- I have wanted to yell like Nurse Jackie on more than one occasion – For those not familiar Nurse Jackie is a TV show, she’s a great nurse, amazing…but also speaks her mind and curses a lot. I admit I have also thought ALL of these things while working.
- I look at people’s veins when I’m shopping & I love starting IVs – It’s a nurse thing. My husband catches me drooling over his big farmer veins often and tells me to stop. There’s something so satisfying about starting an IV that still to this day delights me!
- I really do want to help people – Completely and totally cliché, but it’s true.
So, my 10 year nursiversary! Wow!