How do you do it?
This is the questions I am asked most frequently. Why am I asked this? I’m a pediatric nurse practitioner focusing on cardiology and cardiac surgery. Translation: I work with people of any age who are born with a heart problems I most frequently take care of babies under 1 years old.
I never know how to answer this question. I love what I do but I don’t want it to come across as if I want the child to suffer so I can have a career in this area. Or I’m a martyr (I’m not). I’m also no different from any one else. Yes, I understand working with sick children is not for everyone but it is what I have made my career on and I understand this specialty is not for everyone.
When I was growing up, I was the youngest in my family, I hated baby sitting and I didn’t particularly like children. I wasn’t shy about admitting this, either. I was dreading my required pediatrics clinical in nursing school. The first day of class, the professor asked us to raise our hands if we didn’t want to do pediatrics and my hand was one of the first in the air. I grudgingly signed up for clinical and put my scrubs and headed the hospital on a fall afternoon. My instructor assigned me to work with one RN that day and said she would check on me later. 5 hours later, I was working on my charting and my instructor came to discuss my day. I then realized, I had loved every minute of it. I don’t know if it was the 13-year-old with Flu-A, the gastroschesis baby, carrying a cranky baby around with us because he wanted to be held or the trach vent baby who smiled at me and pulled on my hair that made me enjoy the day, it was a feeling I had deep down that this is what I was meant to do.
When ever I heard people say their career is what they were meant to do, I would nod my head and think internally “yeah, right”. Well, I was wrong and all those people were right. This feeling continued through the semester and through my career. I called my mom the day after my first day at clinical and when I told her I might want to go into pediatrics, she didn’t believe me. Luckily she has always supported me in everything I do.
All these years later, here I am, working with critically ill children every day I work and I couldn’t be happier. I still don’t have an answer for the question “how do you do it” but I can say I love what I do and it just feels right. I sincerely hope every nurse finds this feeling.
I’ve made this blog in order to share my passion for my career with others and to also share some of the crazy days, random thoughts, frustrations, tears and happiness that come with being a nurse practitioner. It’s been a wild ride and can’t wait to share it with you.
Peace, love, and nursing