I’m now 3 weeks away from taking the NCLEX.

In the meantime, there are many things keeping my attention in addition to studying. I’ve just had to clean out a bunch of old papers, and tripped over a little thing I wrote in my first nursing class ever, way back in 2003. The class was at the local community college, and was required prior to taking any hard-science prerequisites. The assignment was simply to write about our then-current perception of nurses, since we were embarking on becoming one.

I find it interesting to read, and include the text:

When I think of a nurse, the images that come to me are not necessarily flattering ones. I picture an overweight rumpled female, brusque and distracted, with comfortable shoes and a loud shirt in a colorful pattern that for some reason pleases her to inflict on others. Along with this physical presence is an attitude of superiority, coupled with a lack of patience for those not endowed with her vast knowledge and wisdom. Not to worry, because said nurse will impart that knowledge ceaselessly, not minding the thousand-yard stares that people assume after lengthy monologues have passed the point of interest or intelligibility.

Those are my initial thoughts on what a nurse is, but they’re not the only ones. I also remember the great nurse who cared for me when I was in the hospital during college. I had gone through major abdominal surgery, and she was there helping me walk, helping me make the stupid balls go to the top of the hellish breathing therapy machine, helping my family through the whole thing, and generally speeding my recovery. And she was petite, skinny, and very attentive.

I also remember the guy, Rob was his name I believe, who was in my Psychology class during that same time. He was a nurse, or what was then called a “male nurse”, and visited me during my stay at the hospital. He must have been over six feet tall, built large but not overweight, and nice enough to drop by and visit a fellow student on his break.

I suppose my primary thoughts may also be uncomplimentary because of the ill-press nurses seem to have been tagged with in the media I’ve grown up with. There was Nurse Ratchet in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Nurse Diesel in “High Anxiety”, Annie Wilkes in “Misery”, and I’m sure a host of others hiding quietly with the lights out in the place where my mind keeps nursing stuff. There they sit with the lights out, whispering to my subconscious.

The favorable view of nurses has undergone more bashing since I have both and RN and an LVN in the family. Both are women that tend to be argumentative as well as opinionated. They suffer greatly under the care of any other healthcare workers, yet claim to be exceptional in their own field. Neither hesitates to share their superior knowledge with others in their field, welcomed or no. They can go on at length on any given topic, sharing expert insights into things they have no knowledge of. That lack never seems to phase them, nordeter their one-waydialoges. Their personalities are very similar in many respects, and yet these women have never met.

The question begging to be asked at this point is “Why then would you even consider a career in nursing?” And I have to answer with a “I’m not sure at this point.”

I do know I feel a genuine desire to help people in medical need. I’ve had an abiding interest int he medical field for as long as I can remember. I have the temperament to remain calm in the face of crisis, a very good memory, and am not disturbed by blood or physical trauma. But these things alone won’t decide if I’m a good candidate for becoming a nurse. There are personality traits that will largely determine my suitability for that role. Perhaps I have the very traits I see in my family members and am blissfully unaware of my affect on other people. Maybe I’m lacking them, and they are the deciding factors in my success as a nurse.

And so I’m investigating the career (or profession, if you prefer), and doing some touring of the Nurse’s ward in my mind, looking for clues about my future and how it might be spent in squeaky white shoes. Take two classes and call me in the morning.

An interesting look back at my thoughts and hesitations at the time. I’m glad I went ahead and continued. I enjoy nursing and the majority of the people I work and interact with. I wonder what I might write now given the same topic….

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