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Title: Nursing as a career

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Since early childhood, I used to watch my mother’s nursing career as it grew successfully. I used to like the manner in which she would help other people at a time when the needed help most. I came from a large family; for this reason, I always used to feel like part of the large global community of humanity. With time, I started getting the feeling that helping other people in the community was just like helping other members of our family. At first, I was not sure which type of service I would spend my life offering to the community. After some thought, I decided that I would pursue nursing just like my mother. This essay highlights the influences of my mother, grandfather, and the college career development officer at Excelsior College and my instructor in shaping up my nursing career in a positive manner.

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            However, when I started interacting with teachers at school, I began to view nursing as a rather undesirable career owing to the fixed routines and demanding schedules involved. This plunged me into a dilemma. For some years, I was not sure which career between teaching and nursing was the best for me. I did not assess my psyche in order to determine whether I had enough compassion for others to be able to offer them care. On the other hand, I did not give much thought to the demands that come with a teaching career. In other words, I did not think seriously about career since I was still a young girl.

After joining high school, I realized that I had more interest in science subjects compared to art ones. Areas such as anatomy, circulatory, homeostasis, and hormonal balances fascinated me. I was surprised by the ease with which science described the origin and nature of ailments and health problems.

            After completing senior high school, I started working at a recreational center. Most of the time, I would be called upon to offer different types of care, both emotional and physical aid to all the children who used to come at the center. This gave me a chance to notice in clear terms the difference between teaching and nursing. I preferred the latter and vowed that I was going to pursue my dream until I achieved it.

            At first, I toyed with the fascinating idea of becoming a pediatrician. This would be a great field for me to dwell on, I thought after much soul-searching. However, when I started applying for a college course, I was confronted with the issue of comparing courses meant for doctors versus those meant for nurses. I was distracted from my dream and I found myself concentrating more on those programs that would make me become a doctor.

            There were two main reasons why I eventually ended up hating the option of being a doctor. First, despite the prestige the job has, I did not have a passion for the daily routines involved. Secondly, I did not enough grades to pursue this course anyway. Nursing always sounded to me like the frame of reference, which I always used to assess my suitability for any other career. It seemed to me like the only thing that I could ever do best in life. Being a member of a large family, the value of caring for others had been instilled in me early on enough by my mother.

            Among all my six-four sisters in our family, I was the one who naturally took the responsibility of caring for others. At one time, our family faced major health maladies. Although my mum was always there to use her professional skills to help us cope with the diseases, she had to be away during the day, and sometimes during the night, in order to attend her patients at the hospital. Whenever she went, I would take over the reins of ‘nursing’ care provision and I was proud of it. It was simply the right thing for me to be doing.

            While I was still undergoing the dilemmas of making a conclusive career decision associated with the college education application process, my grandfather had his colon removed. He required assistance with both emotional and physical recovery after the painful surgery. He was emotionally withdrawn and physically emaciated immediately after the surgery. The colon problem had negatively affected his appetite and things were not getting better quickly enough after the delicate surgery.

Shortly after the surgery, he started developing complications. Because of the negative attitude he had developed towards the hospital where the surgery had been done, he refused to go back there for further medication. I took it upon myself to be his provider of care, since, as I told myself, I had done this before. I took good care of him, respected his emotional feelings and after two months, his life came back to normalcy. My desire to become a nurse had already been established and I no longer faced a dilemma during the college education application process.

            Since I knew very little about pediatrics, I had to ask for help from other people. My mother was one of these people. She advised me about the challenges involved, the relevant courses that I should take, and the kind of professional rewards that awaited me I chose that career line.

            Next, I consulted a career development officer at Excelsior College, where I had already applied for a nursing course. The officer gave me useful information about the atmosphere at the college, the main requirements of the course and the challenges involved. I felt that I was comfortable with everything he said. It did not differ any much from what my mum had told me.

            During college, I found out that I needed some extra cash to spend on the luxuries that made life at college interesting, just like other students did. I started working in a transitional housing program aimed at helping homeless families. The main task was facilitation and soliciting for material and emotional assistance from others in the college. I was employed by a local not-for-profit organization, together with several of my colleagues at college.

            By this time, I had already fallen into the rut of routine clinical tasks during weekdays, and to be honest, I really hated it. The job offered me an opportunity to break away from the monotony of hard classwork. I started feeling that all the nursing care plans I was making were pointless since I was not using them in real-life situations. For the time being, the paycheck mattered more than classwork, which I came to associate with drab existence. I think it is for this reason that I decided to push on with the nursing dream. I was being enticed by the $35,000 that I would be making every year once in hand completed the course and landed a job.

            The nursing school molded me and enabled me to prioritize the issues that mattered most in life. As I soon realized, although I was making some good money in the transitional accommodation program, that money was nothing compared to the dream that lay ahead of me. It was my responsibility to graduate, look for a well-paying job, and help our family with the rising costs of living. I was motivated by the fact that as I did this, I would be transforming other people’s lives positively on a routine basis.

            My way of thinking has changed a lot since joining the nursing school. I sometimes do not feel like my real self. First, I am always impatient with undesirable results whenever someone is not satisfied with the kind of assistance I have offered. This makes me think that I am about to become a failure. I am always scrutinizing my behaviors, particularly those that might hint at my future suitability in a nursing job. This is the reality of my life; I think I will continue to ensure my actions throughout my nursing career. I like it since it prevents me from making blunders. I am always conscious of what I am doing.

            One day, a month before graduation date, I asked my instructor on whether or not I should hold a patient’s Maalox. The instructor was exasperated and ordered me to make a decision since ‘I am graduating within the next two weeks’. This response triggered a strong urge to make even the most painful of professional decisions in real-life situations.

After the class, I was so furious and ashamed of myself for being rudely responded to that I did not talk to any of my colleagues. I went straight into my room and agonized about the response. The more I thought about it, the more I rationalized that the instructor should have used more polite words. I wondered whether it would make me become harsh towards patients and their families like some nurses I had heard about from the stories my mother used to tell me.

            With time, I came to realize the sense of urgency that the instructor was trying to instill in me when he used those harsh words. Later on I did not raise my hands to ask a question when I was overwhelmed and less confident on what to do. I just decided to make a decision. I think that this is a positive professional attitude for a nurse to adopt in his work. Finding clarity may not be the best thing to do; after all, if one adopts a perfectionist’s perspective, it may be too late to help the patient in any way.

Immediately after completing my first degree, I embarked on a job as a registered nurse at the hospital where my grandfather had undergone a colon surgery. When my grandfather heard about it, he was very excited. He thanked me and urged me not to be like the nurse who had attended to him since they were very harsh to her. He told me that they were always tucking pillows underneath his head and that they did not seem interested in his emotional needs. This made me realize how bad it was for nurses to do things based on just the technicalities taught at school. The patients’ emotions, I realized, are as important as the routine professional tasks that nurses engage in on a daily basis.

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