The Healer's Art
Evan and I spoke together in Sacrament meeting for the first time last week, and I have a confession to make: I used to be one of those young women who day dreamed about that day. I wasn't day-dreaming about how my future husband would propose, or what our wedding day would be like. Nope I was day-dreaming about speaking in church together. Pretty sure that's how I ended up with a seminary teacher for a husband :) But seriously I'd hear young couples give talks in church and tell "their story" and just swoon over how romantic it all was. I couldn't wait to do that! Unfortunately I have not been able to successfully compress mine and Evan's story down to a two minute intro, all the fun is in the details! So mostly I left the job to him, and besides I was so nervous I had to take off my heels and hold on the the podium for dear life so I didn't really have the presence of mind to tell it right anyway.
But while I was studying for my talk, I came across a quote that really stuck with me and I haven't been able to shake it:
“When we get emotionally and spiritually involved in helping a person who is in pain, a compassion enters our heart. It hurts, the but process lifts some of the pain from another. We get from the experience a finite look into the Savior's pain as he performed the infinite Atonement. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, a sanctification takes place within our souls and we become more like our Savior.” -Glenn L. Pace
As far as school goes, this semester has been a rough one for me. I have learned more than I ever have in any other semester in school, and probably multiple semesters combined. Being able to interpret all the lab values, identify any cardiac rhythm you can throw at me, and regurgitate the hemodynamic values does make me feel smart, but mastering all that wasn't even the hard part.
I started the semester off in the ICU. Okay we all know what that means... intensive care unit... AKA the sickest of the sick and therefore NOT where you want to be from a patient's perspective. I know people die in hospitals, or at least supposedly that's why everyone hates hospitals right? But two years in and I hadn't seen it yet. And really, in nursing school we don't talk about people dying that much. We talk about people we can heal. So when my first patient died a few weeks in to my clinical rotation I sat motionless and watched the cardiac strip slowly deteriorate with tears in my eyes for over an hour. The next week when my patient died, I went and hid in the hall and started sobbing. What kind of a nurse does that?? I didn't even know that man, I had only been on shift for an hour before it happened and he was unconscious the whole time! But I was watching the reaction of his family and I just couldn't hold back my tears.
Next up was the Psych ward, what an improvement right? But I have to tell you I LOVED it. I was on the chemical dependency floor with patients who were suffering from addictions and substance abuse. It completely changed my perspective on how I view people. I mean, I am currently on a month long chocolate fast because of my patients there, that should tell you how serious this is. We got to spend all day with our patients, in therapy, playing cards, just in casual conversation as well as formal interviews, and after hearing about what they have been through in their lives you just want to say, of course you are addicted to x, y, or z, I probably would be too! You can't think of anything except how you just wish none of it had happened and how you just want to take it away. In the medical hospital I ask my patients to please take a blood pressure pill every day, or make sure you don't forget to check your blood sugars. In the psych ward I say, "Will you please give up the only thing that has given you happiness and kept you alive and never ever have it again for the rest of your life?" ( Hence the chocolate fast, it was the only thing I could think to do to gain some form of empathy for them! Not that chocolate is the only thing that gives me happiness...but you get the picture.)
So the point of my rambling is this: the hard part of nursing is you get your heart broken over and over again! I have been thinking all semester... Why am I doing this? Who in their right mind would sign up for this for the rest of their life?? Until I came across this quote, and that makes it all worth it. BYU College of Nursing's slogan is "The Healer's Art." Because its true, it hurts. But in the process you lift some of the pain from another. So while I'm no longer the idyllic freshman who came in to nursing with the idea that I was going to change the whole world, I love it again. And I can't wait to start my capstone in the fall to continue to try and take just a little bit of pain away for each patient.
But I'm not that changed. I'm still moving back to the happy floor of the hospital. Labor and Delivery here I come!