I recently saw a cartoon image of a nurse looking a few pages into an enormous book titled All the Things You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School Vol. 1. I indeed chuckled and absolutely related to the image. It is probably a combination of becoming an adult, graduating from school and starting a career as well as being a nurse that has caused me to learn so much in the last three years. As I have grown older I have really begun to appreciate education and understand its importance. I see now that my entire life has been an educational experience. From my first memories of learning as a child to the things I learn every day, all of my experiences have caused me to learn something - often times without knowing that learning was taking place.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This has certainly been the case for me through serving others as a nurse and my family as a wife and mother. I go to work and put others needs before my own for twelve or more hours a day, whether it be my busy co-workers who need help or my patients themselves who require a lot of attention. I am always thinking of how my decisions will affect my kids and husband, and often sacrificing my needs and wants for them.
However, I do all of this happily. This is what I love to do and the rewarding feeling I get is worth it. So what has serving others taught me about myself? It is through seeing others in their time of triumph after tragedy or their sorrow after devastation, seeing their interactions and reactions, that I have learned the most about myself. I find myself thanking God daily for the blessings he has given me: for my family, my job, and the love he has shown me through others.
My family is not without its many flaws, but I am so thankful for the many things they have taught me and the love and support they have provided me. My family is large as it includes my parents, my many grandparents, extended family, friends, neighbors, church family, coaches, teachers, and co-workers. Through serving others it is the things that all of these people have taught me that I notice most often. They have taught me self-respect, the importance of doing your best in whatever you do, they introduced me to God’s unconditional love and mercy, they have shown me what faith looks like, encouraged that honesty is the best practice, that all people are equal and should be treated as such, and to strive to do the right thing even when it is not the cool thing. Unfortunately I often see people through my job as a nurse that do not have the same support system and values that I have, and this is when I realize how ever so blessed that I am. Sometimes I do have patients surrounded by the love of family and God and it is clear that I have more in common with them; it makes me thankful that I would have a similar support if something similar should happen to me.
I have also learned a lot by being a wife and a mother, and interestingly enough, the characteristics of these roles and those of a nurse tend to go hand in hand. A good friend taught my husband and me a lesson early on in our relationship that we continuously reflect on. He told us that marriage, or really any personal relationship, can be successful with the three c’s: commitment, communication and compromise. For my husband and I, commitment comes pretty naturally. When things between us get hasty and we struggle and we feel distant from one another, we remember that we are married and we made a commitment to ourselves and God that we would work it out. Communication and compromise is something that we work on constantly. Compromising usually is not difficult if the communication is sufficient, and this is the same with my patients. I am committed to doing what is right and what is best for my patients; it is a much better relationship if there is clear communication. I am able to compromise with families and patients when