Dear Future Self –
I am writing this to you at the end of my first term in nursing school! How quickly the time has passed. I have learned so much about myself, the world, and the human condition in the past three months and I can only imagine the lifelong learning that remains ahead. In hopes of documenting my journey into medicine and remembering where I’ve been, I am writing this letter to you, my future self as a nurse. May these words remind you of the bravery that it took to embrace each new step, each new learning hurdle, each new exam, and each new patient case that has brought you to becoming a nurse; may that inspire you for each new day in your work. This career path is not for the faint of heart and its learning and challenges do not stop at the end of nursing school. It’s a continual process of learning, failing and succeeding, reflecting and doing your part to touch a life and impact it forever.
Just some words of encouragement from this first year nursing student….
This career path and the instruction within…it changes your viewpoint on the world and the way you interface with every human being. It’s a perspective that can’t be unseen or undone…you will never see the world the same again. They have taught you to always reason from the norm, to look at people and assess their need for care as patients. This reasoning and assessment is not something you can easily turn off outside of the hospital walls, but it shows through on the bus when you see the older gentleman wince as he coughs and his breaths appear shallow….and you see the teller at the bank whose hands are rigid and deformed as she hands you your money…. and you notice the pregnant mama and the severe edema in her ankles….and with all of these you reason through and assess. Although this perspective could become overwhelming and saddening, having your job to be to find what’s wrong in a person…instead, choose to use this observance of the world and the people within it as a gift….a gift that allows you to see the hurting and powerless people in a way that not many others can….a gift that allows you to have a part in bringing about health and wellness….a gift that allows you to see the hurting of this world, the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional pain within and have a greater sense of intentionality on your knees to pray.
Also, let not the struggle and pain of this world and its people make you callus. Always remember that love and empathy and kindness should be at the core of your practice as a nurse.
Wake up every day saying….’it’s a beautiful day to save a life’….or ‘it’s a beautiful day to welcome new life into the world’….and some days it will be, ‘it’s a beautiful day to help comfort and usher an old soul to the end of life’. No matter what the day may bring, know that you have the opportunity to be a beautiful part of someone’s story and to leave a legacy.
Don’t let yourself ever forget the honor and privilege that you have in partnering with people…in loving them and caring for them in their weakest moments. You’re going to feel like quitting. You’re going to struggle. You’ll have days where you’ll wonder, “what’s it all for?” You’ll have days when people attempt to break you down, or challenge your intelligence, skills and right to be where you are. You’ll have moments when you question your own abilities, and perhaps your sanity- but You Will Rise. You’ll rise because your strength as a nurse is not determined by one grade, one shift or one job- it’s an ongoing journey of learning, honor, humility and a chance to make even the smallest difference in the lives of your patients, sprinkling the love of Jesus in every interaction you have.
Be Brave. Be Thankful. Choose to See the Gift of Extending Kindness to a Hurting World.