Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scaredy-cat nurse

I'm not one to wax philosophical and claim that I live my live by nebulous quotes and cliches, but I recently read that Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Always do what you are afraid to do." And I was just thinking that maybe I've unintentionally done that.

I was a wee young nurse tech buckaroo roundabout five years ago, wide-eyed and scared to death just to walk into a patient's room on the oncology unit I just started working on. I would rehearse to myself how I would greet the patients and introduce myself, just so I wouldn't sound silly, and I lived in fear that eventually a patient would say to me, "What are you doing here? You obviously don't belong here, you don't know what you're doing." Mercifully, and shockingly, that never happened. I would walk past the ICU rooms and glance furtively in, trying to discern the actual patient from the spaghetti-tangle of wires, lines, and blippy-beepy machines, and shake my head. Scary. Crazy. If asked to assist an ICU nurse with turning or cleaning her patient, I remember gingerly lifting lines or wires simply to hold the patient's hand, always keeping one eye-ball glued to that ET tube as if a hiccup might dislodge it, causing the patient's untimely and messy demise and of course it would all be my fault. I imagined that I could never work in the ICU, I didn't have the knowledge, or the drive, the stamina to handle being that on-edge and stressed out all day long.

To make a long story short, I of course ended up as one of those crazy ICU nurses. I guess it was a combination of being fascinated by what I didn't understand...the physiology, the pharmacology, the intensity of the human situation, that drove me to want to figure it all out. It was probably a little bit of, "Hey, if Nurse XYZ can do it, then so can I!" And maybe you could boil it down to that little quote, "Always do what you are afraid to do."

And now tonight I'm going to be in charge...not a huge thing, there are no special classes or knowledge or certifications required, and the amount extra that I'll get paid will barely pay for my end-of-stretch pizza. But something makes me want to try it. I think it's a little bit the sense of ,"Ok, what's next?" I attribute that to the fact that I am an eternally lazy person, and I must always be working towards a next big goal or my motivation falters and I slip into a boring rut. So, after RN, ICU RN, what was next? Charge RN, I guess. And of course, CCRN ICU RN, coming soon :) I used to think I would hate being in charge, and there's still a chance that I might be right. After all, I don't think I'm a manager-type person...I don't like organizing things, I don't particularly like telling other people what to do, and although I've been working on, I'm not as assertive as I'd like to be. I'm much more content to remain quietly in the background, mostly doing my own thing. But hey, it'll be an interesting change, a new perspective at work, and at least I can say I tried it.

1 comment:

girl_in_greenwood said...

Good on yer! I'm glad to know that it's normal to feel terrified before starting new things. I've gotten pretty comfortable with the nurse tech/nurse student role, so now it's nearly time for me to go work at Big County Hospital which is full of scary, broken, crazy patients. Whee!!

I'm sure you'll be a great charge nurse. You'll get to sit down more, for one thing!