I am a nurse. Nursing is not what I do, it is who I am. I know there are people who say that, and I used to write those kind of statements off. A job was just a job until I discovered what brought passion to my life. This job I have is not something that I leave when I swipe my badge at the end of my shift. I interact with patient's and their families at some of their most vulnerable moments in life. On occasion I impact them; more often their overwhelmed state and dependence impacts me. I couldn't have planned my life any better if I'd had a fairy godmother. I love what I do. However, there are days that we all pay a price. Not everyone survives their hospitalization; often, some patient's don't have a chance before they even enter the door.
I participated in my first code last week. I've always heard how violent CPR is, but you never hear how beautiful it is at the same time. There are multiple people in the room, but each one plays a role in a synchronized dance you perfect the moves to the first time you step into the situation. It is the place that theory becomes concrete knowledge. In this particular situation I took part in chest compressions, ventilating the patient, pushing medications, checking for pulses, and acting as a member of a team with one goal in mind: keep the patient alive. In this particular case I experienced something I never imagined. I actually rode on the patient's bed doing chest compressions as we moved to another location. When adrenaline pumps through your body that quickly and viciously everything but the situation in front of you fades out. That moment of utter clarity doesn't happen very often, but in these situations it's a necessity. You don't feel the pain ripping through your body as you push it beyond the physical restraints binding it.
I am a nurse. It is not a profession, it's a lifestyle choice. It impacts every aspect of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.