I cannot recall ever waking up one day and saying to myself, “Maybe I’ll become a nurse.” A part of me just figured I would. For a while I tried to run from the idea, pick a different major, one that would cause less stress and heartache. Avoiding it was like avoiding fate: impossible.
Nursing is not a career that we choose. For most of us nursing has never been a choice.
It’s a calling.
Nursing is a calling for a special type of people. It’s not for the weak of heart, nor those that lack a heart. Nursing is a career for those willing to do what others will not do and those willing to give away a piece of their heart to those around them, time and time again.
During nursing school we will submit ourselves to hundreds of hours of studying and hundreds of hours of clinicals. When we have studied to the point of exhaustion, we will continue to study some more. We will continue to push ourselves to our limits, and then past them, not for the sake of our GPA, but because we want to become the best possible nurses for you.
We strive for perfection daily because we understand our error could cost a life.
The classes and professors we have during nursing school will teach us a lot, but that alone cannot give us everything we need for the job. Nurses possess something that cannot be taught in a classroom: Hearts that are soft enough to tend to the dying, but strong enough to hold it together for their patients. We are natural born nurturers. We work hard and love deeply simply because that it’s our job, not for any type of recognition.
Many of times we will be asked, “Why did you settle for being a nurse, could you not make it in medical school to become a doctor?” Others will tell us that “It was a smart move choosing a career with job security.” None of those people understand though, but we cannot expect them to.
We did not choose to become nurses because we couldn’t cut it as doctors. Comparing nurses and doctors is like comparing apples and oranges, they’re two separate things entirely. Nursing is a patient-centered career, becoming a doctor is a disease-centered career. We chose patients.
We did not choose to become nurses because of job security either. While it is nice to know we will always be needed, and always be able to switch specialties when we need something new, it’s not what made us pick this career path.
Not everything about our choice to pursue nursing is about our patients though, we hold a selfish secret: Part of it is knowing we will see miracles every day and the way our hearts will fill with joy because of it. Pursing nursing is knowing that although we will face struggles and loss, we will experience miracles that no other career could provide us with. We will bring new lives into the world, watch a patient that was “to never walk again” take their first steps, and critical care patients return home.
As nurses we will have the privilege to bring life into the world just as we have the honor of holding our patients hand as they continue onto their next journey after life.
We will give a piece of ourselves away to each of our patients and their families.
It takes a special type of person to choose a career that means putting the needs of others first, but for most of us, we couldn’t imagine any other career.
We didn’t choose to become a nurse, we chose to answer our calling to become nurses.
"Becoming a nurse is more than a job, it's a way of life."