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The evolution of my unknown identity...the story of Nurse Jackie

Posted Jun 03 2010 5:39pm
So there are these three prominent parts of me...the family side, the nurse side, and the athletic side. If one is to understand me (or if I want to fully begin to understand myself) then I need to start at the beginning...maybe by getting into what got me here the pieces will fall into place...puzzles anyone?

The family side is pretty cut and dry...I always knew I wanted to be married with two kids (always knew they would be a boy and a girl too). I knew I wanted to achieve said goal before the ripe old age of 25...check...done. Girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy (who luckily falls in love back)...girl and boy get married (quickly might I add)...girl and boy have son...two years later, girl and boy have daughter. Done, end of family story. Well, not really...but that is stuff for another post...

The nurse side is a little trickier and probably even more personal to explain. When I was born I had some problems. Not simple problems either...nope...I had to be difficult (shocking, I know). I was born with an extremely rare case of cancer...fun times for mom and dad I'm sure. I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a young child. Most of it I don't really remember...but clearly something stuck. Ever since I could talk I told everyone I wanted to be a doctor...a pediatrician more accurately. I wanted to spend my days taking care of sick kids...possibly masochistic...but it was what I wanted. I focused on this goal all the way through my first year of college...then for some unknown reason I suddenly had an epiphany...wait...doctors aren't the ones at the patients side day in and day out...those are the nurses!! I don't want to be a doctor, I want to be a nurse!! So I promptly marched into the counselors office and changed my major from pre-med to biology...I figured I'd change it to nursing in a bit once I had some time to settle into this life-changing decision. But then, like it always does, said life got in the way. I moved to FL with my family (another long story for another time) and dropped out of college. One year later I was married...soon to be pregnant. I took a slight detour on the road to nursehood...but I still meant to get there eventually. It was just that the other previously mentioned family goals took a front seat for a while...but I knew I would get there eventually...someday.

Fast forward four years, one kid, a prominent pregnancy, a cross country move, and a deployment later. I'm standing in my living room with an acceptance letter to nursing school in my hand. I applied and did the testing on a whim. I knew the timing would never work out and allow me to finish prior to us PCS'ing (Navy move) again. So I wasn't even going to tell the hubby...thankfully my mother knows I'm nuts and convinced me that I had to at least tell him. So I did...but I threw in so many outs and excuses and reasons for why it was no big deal and I could get in anywhere...I'm shocked he didn't just say OK and walk away. He didn't...he was my saving grace that day. He just calmly looked at me and said, "so I guess that means I better look for orders to San Diego again." WHAT!! For real?!! Never in a million years did I ever expect that answer. And I guess that's the point really...it's amazing what can happen when you don't expect it...

Fast forward again one year, a three year old, a seven week old, and a deployed husband later, I am sitting in a classroom at 25 years old...about to embark upon my dream. I was the biggest dork ever...seriously. I had all my labeled notebooks, my rolly backpack, colored pens and pencils...I had it all...I was ready to roll...literally and figuratively.

Looking back on that time...the time during which I totally disappeared into myself and my schooling...it was rough. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I spent a lot of time away from my family...and even when I was with them...I really wasn't. I studied, I read, I practiced, I spent hours in living rooms and coffee shops with fellow nursing students...and I made lifelong friends. In the end, of course, it was all worth it...but I don't think I'd ever do it over again...I say that now, knowing I will go back someday...but I'm not ready just yet.

Now that I have officially been a nurse for one year this month and practicing since September 2009...I can see how much this profession has changed me. It has forever altered the way I view the world. It has changed my thought processes entirely. I now approach life as an ICU nurse. Although this may never make sense to someone who is not an ICU nurse...those who are, understand. I have been blessed to work in an amazing hospital and have the MOST wonderful nurse mentor anyone could EVER dream of having. Dale (my preceptor) has given me all the tools and more that I needed to begin my life as a nurse. He gave me the confidence to trust my instincts, the guts to stand up for what I believed in (without stepping on too many baby doctor toes), the resources to learn as much as possible, and the knowledge to back myself up...along with the wisdom of when to back off or get more information first. Thank you Dale...

As I grow as a nurse, I grow as a person...it is possible that the nurse part of my identity is almost inseparable from the rest of me...it is me...to my core I am nurse....and I always will be...
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