Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to be a nurse. Sounds like a cliche thing for a nurse to say right .. but I can honestly say that that’s the truth. I was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation, that’s 15 weeks early! I was in hospital for over 100 days fighting for my life. Once I made it home, I was relatively healthy and have continued to grow and have a fulfilled life. At times, I was readmitted for being sick or for being a part of research as I was premature. So for a lot of my early years, it’s true to say that the hospital was a very familiar place for me and it somewhat felt like home.
Growing up if we were anywhere near the hospital I was born in, I always nagged mum to go in and visit the ward I lived in for the first months of my life, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I also remember it being my little ritual that every time I would go to that hospital, I would nag mum to buy me their infamous sausage roll.
Once I reached university studying my Bachelor of Nursing, I knew I was close to my goal and wanted it over as soon as possible. It was such a drag sometimes. I was the classic student where I did well enough in the classroom but practical work was where I excelled. Don’t give me the books, the tests or the tedious assignments. Give me the first hand experience working alongside nurses to care for patients. These placements were where I grew from being a student nurse to a real nurse.
My first day as a Registered Nurse..I actually can’t remember it! It does feel like such a blur because I have grown so much since. I had the privilege of working in the biggest hospital in my state having two different six month rotations in cardiology and renal nursing. They were exciting, challenging and fun in individual ways. I do remember starting my career and finding it really hard about how to prioritise my time and to say ‘no’ to helping others when I had my own things to do. I also remember struggling to find genuine friends – people always say that nursing is a bitchy career and damn right it is, I learnt that real quick.
Four years into my nursing career, I have met so many wonderful people, not only patients but staff too. I have grown enormously both personally and professionally. I am aware of the nurse I want to be (definitely not the selfless nurse or the mopey nurse). Some shifts suck, some are long, some are heart breaking but gee it’s so rewarding. Rewarding is the perfect word. I absolutely love that my job involves helping people and sometimes being lucky enough to make a difference in ones life. I love that I can use my hands to fix something, use my words to provide comfort and use my heart to show love when needed.
Although I don’t remember fighting for my life all those years ago, I will always be thankful to the nurses and medical team for helping me. Hearing the stories from my parents over the years have made me want to give back and help others.
I will continue to nag mum to go back to NICU to visit and maybe one day I just might go back there to work as a nurse myself.