All those years ago, little did I know what nursing would come to mean to me... I had wanted to be a nurse to help people ever since I was a child in my dad's doctor's office. Years later as I glance back over the path I have taken, I am quite amazed. Never did I realize all the places nursing could take me, all the people I would meet and all the awe inspiring moments and opportunities that would arise...
I wanted to help people and this I was able to do. How blessed I have been to be at the bedside of patients who are ill, tired, alone and in need to comfort and rest. There are not words to describe the feeling of fulfillment... Hearing an elderly man thank God for me in prayer as I left the room, praying with a heart broken woman who's child had been rushed to another hospital, observing a young father of another faith blessing and praying over his newborn son, and most unnerving and yet exhilarating, responding with that rush of adrenaline and the steady Hand of God to an emergency. The stories, the people, the sense of humility and awe that I was able to be present in these moments of utter vulnerability is something I will never forget.
Ambulatory Care Nursing:
Then I moved from acute care into the ambulatory care environment to work in pediatrics. Never did I think I would love any nursing environment as much as labor and delivery but working with children is one of the greatest pleasures in the world. I love to listen to their thoughts on what makes the world go round. Those little brains are fascinating. In pediatrics I learned to carefully craft explanations. A 'shot' is a 'poke' and when I take your blood pressure, I am going to 'give your arm a hug'. Stickers can brighten any day and 'fix' any boo boo, as can bandaids. Bubbles, well, these glistening orbs of air are essential distractions. Oh, and don't forget that prize...
For years I was at the bedside and never dreamed of being anywhere else. Then I moved into education. I was excited to prepare nurses to do what I had cherished for so long. I was blessed to be part of students educational journey. I enjoyed watching their eagerness and passion. Eventually we would part ways as they continued their passage into nursing on their own, only now as colleagues. Hopefully, I taught them something. I know every student taught me something and I was honored to be a part of their lives.
Nursing Quality Improvement:
Somewhere along the line, I moved into quality improvement and research. It was exciting. Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was hard at first, a definite learning curve, but then it made sense. Begin by looking for a broken process, then define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC). What is the voice of the customer (VOC)... what is the voice of the process (VOP). What are my inputs and outputs... What once was hard, now is second nature. Once LSS is embraced you understand why so many process improvements often fail, the true root cause of the problem is never truly investigated. We just think we know what will solve the problem and act. LSS involves using specific tools... SIPOCs, Fishbones, and matrices to drill down to the process to identify barriers. I love it!
Alright, it is confession time. Those who knew me when can attest that during my undergraduate school days, I hated research. Really, seriously... I find this so funny now. At first I missed my patients, then I realized that I am still caring for patients, only now my focus is on improving patient care with a pen, paper and a computer. It also involves finding gaps and barriers, so I am a detective of sorts, very intriguing...
This by far is one of the greatest things about nursing, the ability to move into new areas of interest and reinvent yourself... how cool is that! Along the way you meet new people, learn new things and explore new settings. This is a great way to keep yourself engaged and relevant.
None of these adventures would have ever been possible without the God's direction, His Holy Spirit and plan, plain and simple, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it..." Isaiah 30:21