( So I’m very red in this picture, but its because we had just gotten back from Mexico. We had been on holidays)
I graduated in 2008, after 2 years of a complete overhaul in my life I had achieved something I would never have dreamed of. I dedicated 2 full years to early morning classes, 12 hour shift placements, projects, homework assignments and group work projects. My whole family supported my desire to see this through.
When I first decided to go to school to become a nurse, there were many reasons why. As a 30 something year old woman, I needed a change. I just wanted something other than being a mom to define who I was.
Its a scary world when you are a woman who gives up her identity to be home to care for her children. I no longer had a job, I didn’t have an income that registered as a career and I was loosing my identity as a woman. I was lost. To be completely honest I was scared. I didn’t know who I was, I had started out as an Early Childhood Educator in life but due to unforeseen circumstances that all changed.
My kids had come to a certain age where I wasn’t needed as much, both were in school full time and had active healthy lifestyles. I was so proud of that. But I was lost.
There are some things I want to leave private about my life, somethings are meant for Paul and I. But I will say we were working very hard at saving our marriage, we both needed to do some work on ourselves before we could come back together in a healthy way.
So that’s exactly what I did. I think the main reason I chose nursing was because I was already practically a nurse in my every day living. All the things I did at home were skills that I could bring forward into a nursing career. I had worked along side many nurses, doctors, surgeons, specialists and therapists for years…why not get paid for it.
I also knew as Braden grew his needs would change, and so would his condition. I needed to be educated so that I could make sure his needs would be met. I wanted to become the best possible advocate I could be.
Nursing it was, looking back today I think I should have went into Social Work. Doing what I do today with work I have a higher tolerance for counselling than nursing.
Don’t get me wrong, while I was working I absolutely loved helping others. I am a nurturer by heart and being able to assist someone to reach their highest level of health was my desire. I loved seeing patients recover and go home.
Those were the good days.
However that was not always the case, you see sometimes they didn’t recover and that my friends eventually tore me up.
As you know, I have PTSD. I was diagnosed years ago with anger issues. I didn’t have the coping skills back in the day to deal with the stress and anxiety of my “new” life. So I sought treatment through psychology services and managed to stabilize myself for quite a few years. Honestly I didn’t have time to take care of many issues arising in my mind so I ignored them and powered through about 10 years. We were a busy family, and although the PTSD lingered I was always so grateful for the fact that we were all still here and moving forward as a family. We were too busy having fun. Always doing things together, trips, parties, camping, boating, swimming, weekend get always…we had so much to celebrate, we always made the best of it. But the PTSD was always there.
Eventually all the years of having a hidden monster residing in my mind, heart and soul it took a toll. Instead of reaching out for more Psychological counselling, I decided to go back to school. I wanted to change a piece of who I was. I will never ever regret that choice, because it got me through a very difficult time in my life.
I know people may think I went back to school to get a job, to work in a hospital, and to have a successful career. The truth was, I did it for me. NOT for the work.
I had to prove to myself that I had it in me. That I was strong. If I ever found myself on my own as a woman I could take care of myself.
SO don’t get me wrong. I did work for 2 years after my schooling. I worked at a hospital in the float pool and I did like it. My favorite place was Post partum and delivery. All those new babies and mom’s. Working with happy families, seeing the love and admiration for their new bundle of joy was something I loved. But the PTSD lingered. Eventually thoughts returned, I would look at that new mom with her beautiful baby but something inside me was sad. I struggled knowing that I too was happy and so in love with my new bundle, but only a short 15 months after that moment in my life everything dramatically changed. When you suffer from PTSD flashbacks, thoughts, fears and anxieties are things that you can not control. I powered through for as long as I could. I felt weak, I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone. I also didn’t feel like I had the right to feel the way I did. Let it go…why are you still “focusing” on that time in your life. I didn’t understand the significance of what I was going through and how it was going to forever be a part of my life.
I was good at my job. I was always getting compliments on my work and families seemed to enjoy having me as a nurse.
(One of the wonderful letters I received while working in maternity. I do very much miss that job, I was very lucky to have been offered that floor. I remember this family, the mother and father were very much struggling with breast feeding. The father was showing some signs of aggression towards the nursing staff. So they were quite frustrated with this couple, in my opinion no one was taking the time to explain things accordingly to them. Its amazing how communication can defuse a problem, when you take the time to care~)
I did have to work on the stroke unit as well as surgical, and those days were challenging. I remember walking into a woman’s room and she was 42 years old. She had a stroke and was so young. Her kids were there, her husband was supportive but I shut down. When I walked in, I had some pretty serious flashbacks. They had a picture mobile over her bed, and family photo’s on the window pane. So desperately trying to bring back the mother they once knew. The pain in their faces, the desperation in their voices literally paralyzed me. It wasn’t something that I had expected to experience. How could I be the best nurse possible when I was not present “In that moment”. Its exhausting to put away real emotions, fears, panic attacks and anxieties when you are trying to “encourage” someone to heal, rehabilitate and focus on their health and recovery.
Do I miss it?
Yes, some day’s I do. I do still feel like a nurse. You don’t forget the skills you’ve learned and although I am not practicing much of my nursing techniques in a working environment. I still have a job that requires much of my time and attention. I also am very aware of what I would need to do inorder to upgrade if I ever did decide to register again and work in the hospital.
Chances are…I won’t return. I am pretty content with what I have going on right now. But if I change my mind. Then I know what I have to do!!
My friends I could go on and on about my experiences. I suppose the purpose of this post is too put too rest for some why I stopped working as a nurse outside of my home. I know some people might think I went through all that school and only worked for 2 years, what a waste of time. Too me it was not, I healed a part of me that no one could understand. It gave me the confidence to move forward in my life, empowered me to be the best advocate I could be and it allowed me the strength to be independent. I will never regret my choice to become a nurse, I will always have that title and no one can take that away from me~
Until next time my lovelies, good day and god bless~