Most people decide at a very young age what they "want" to be when they grow up - I don't think I was one of those people. I'm not sure when being a nurse came to mind... guess it just kinda happened one day. Hmmm, when was that???
My journey to being the big "RN" was one that went off the road a few times. I graduated from high school in 1994 and went to college at Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in nursing. I loved my time there - met some amazing people, experienced all things college and learned a few life's lessons. I also met Rick during that time. Well into my time at SLU, I realized that I would have to wait 2.5 years, yes years, before getting into the clinical part of the nursing program. What??? During Fall break a friend of mine asked me "What would you want to do/be if you couldn't be a nurse?". I'd never really thought about it to be honest, I still don't think I could answer that question if asked it again now. Tossing around a few ideas, I decided on Interior Design. Again, not really sure why, but that's what it ended up being. *shrug shoulders*. I took the Spring '97 semester off and worked at one of the local chemical plants as a receptionist before heading down the next fork in the road. Now this is where things get interesting. Not wanting to go to LSU I opted to move to Houston and attend the Art Institute. So off I went...my first apartment, all by myself in a city of millions. I was scared shitless, but determined to do it and be successful at it, and I was. I graduated with honors and got a job right away with an amazing Architectural firm in Houston. I began my professional career with the Interior Architecture, and eventually Healthcare teams at Kirksey. There are no words to describe that experience. It was amazing and I helped create some great spaces for our clients. Making myself at home with them was easy - I was welcomed with open arms and there was an abundance of talent and knowledge surrounding me every day. The people I worked with became my family and I became an adult in the real world with them. The friendships I made will be forever lasting in my mind (that is if dementia doesn't steal them away). I learned so many things in my short time with Kirksey and I never intended to leave there. It saddened my beyond comprehension to leave them and part of me still misses the people and work I did. I will always regret leaving, but alas, like they say, all good things must come to an end. The departure from Houston had me arriving in the Sonoran Desert/Tucson. I moved here in September 2000. Rick and I were at a point in our relationship where one of us had to make that big sacrifice, give up what we loved doing, and move. I pulled the short straw on that deal. Jumping into my job here was not as easy as it was in Houston. Working at a branch location of an internationally known firm, HDR was now my home. It was a decent size (40 people or so), but I was the only Interiors person and only one of 6 professional women in the firm I worked at. The others were architects or engineer. Not good... Needless to say my time, although some was great, with HDR was short lived. I no longer felt creative and my passion for interiors was fading thanks to the environment I was in.
So... back to nursing! I started taking classes again while still with HDR, but in January 2004, when Sydney was only 8 months old, I started clinicals and never looked back. Nursing school saved my sanity, forged great friendships, and gave me happiness again. I had found my purpose. YEAH! I graduated in December 2006, took some time off to recharge, hang out with the little person in my life and wait to see where the job hunt would end up.
Even on my worst day, after 12+ hours of walking the unit, rarely being able to eat or pee, it's worth it in the end. I take them all to heart - the crazy ones, the demented ones, the sad, scared and broken ones... being puked/pooped/bleed on. I love it and I love what I do. I'd never be something other than a surgical RN - drains, tubes, fluids, smells, sounds. Bring it on!!! Happy Nurses Week to you all.