Dear Future Self –
I am writing this to you at the end of my fifth and final term in nursing school! What a journey it has been that has brought me to this destination, making this dream become reality and seeing my calling become my career. I am now 99% nurse with my board exam scheduled for early January…excited to start the new year with HOPE of RN licensure and the start of my nursing career!
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 freshly graduated nursing student….
This career- it’s a commitment to compassion…a commitment to saving lives….a commitment to gracefully ushering life into death…a commitment to being strong and courageous while offering empathy and comfort.
This term was all about expanding my curiosity, further developing my clinical judgement and serving the patient population that I’m passionate about….it was the term where I got to be a real nurse, where I showed up to every shift, taking my own patient load, caring independently for my patients, practicing medicine and mercy and learning what this ministry of medicine looks like for me.
This term was humbling and empowering. These units that I worked on and these people that I served….where I sat at the bedside with pre-eclamptic mamas on bedrest, who anxiously anticipated and hoped for the safe delivery of their babes….where I held the hand of the mama at 40 weeks coming in, agonizing in pain and looking to me to find some sort of strength and comfort in such moments of vulnerability….where I spoke grace and strength to the new parents as they watched their newborn slip away, surrounded by a mirage of people, but without hope of another breath….where I held the babe who trembled and screamed, withdrawing from heroine, whose life was so vulnerable and innocent….where I taught the new mom how to breastfeed, how to swaddle, how to diaper change….and where I sent sweet families off with courage and grace as they embraced this new tiny human. What these patients taught me over the course of 10 weeks was not measured through test grades or progress reports, but personal growth of my character, my experiences, and my compassion for the vulnerability of caring for perinatal clients.
So, this term brought about a lot of self-growth as I stepped into this nursing role…I learned to push through my own fear and uncertainty, to ask so many questions that I would travel home with pages full of insights from each day, to embrace learning opportunities, to expect and graciously receive feedback, to not put the expectation on myself to know it all, to love well and to always put the person before the task.
This story of your nursing career has great learning and beauty awaiting….approach each moment with grace and the strength of the Lord….this story won’t be easy, the beginnings will be filled with struggles and shortcomings, but remember your why and remember how far you have come, how much you have overcome, and who lives within you as the Overcomer. Let this career never become just that, a career. Let is always be a vehicle for you to share Christ’s love and walk in your calling to share compassion and mercy with the vulnerable. Be gentle with yourself along this journey and accept God’s goodness and grace in each and every moment….
And above all….
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.
Here’s to embracing your dream, this career and this calling. In all your days, never forget your WHY and remember to always…
Be Brave. Be Thankful. And Choose to See the Gift of Extending Kindness to a Hurting World.