As I come up on my 4-year nursing anniversary, I have been reflecting on all of the things that nursing has allowed me to do. I find myself griping and complaining at times, “I hate hospital hours.” “I don’t want to work the nightshift.” “ANOTHER Christmas at work? Really?” And then I think to myself… “But what about all of the wonderful things that nursing HAS allowed me?” So as I write this post, I am reflecting on all of the wonderful things that nursing has brought into my life. My hopes are that someone reading this is trying to choose a career path and decides that nursing just might be for them.
Nursing has allowed me to….
Live in multiple states in one calendar year
While sometimes lonely, I wouldn’t trade travel nursing for the world. I have been lucky enough to move west when winter arrives. Visit family (for three months) in the Seattle summer. Figure out why Austin is considered “weird”. And make lifelong friends under the Arizona sun.
Put myself in other people’s shoes
I find myself having much less “woe is me” moments since I have become a nurse. Not that we all don’t deserve to wallow in self-pity now and again. (Because we totally do). But my self-pity now comes with the realization that people are dealing with some real shit out there. Some life changing, life altering, how do you even survive this – shit.
Take lots of really long vacations
This is a huge plus of nursing and travel nursing. As a nurse you can take 8 days off… without taking ANY PTO! And as a travel nurse, don’t get me started! You can take indefinite time off. For instance, my current travel assignment ends October 3rd. I am taking off the rest of the calendar year and as far into 2019 as I feel like!
For how to pack for a long holiday click here
For tips and ideas on how to maximize your eight days off work, check out my series – The Eight Day Vacay (a series)
Make friends all over the world
I have not only made some of the best friends as a staff nurse. Or as a travel nurse. But I have made some of the best friends from across the world! I have friends on all corners of the globe, and all around the US. Not only in nursing, but I have learned how to make lifelong friends outside of the hospital too. Traveling and being alone so much teaches you how to connect with others on a different level that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.
I feel especially grateful that nursing has allowed me the opportunity to volunteer. In the spring of 2017 I was forever changed when I was allowed the opportunity to live in Skopje, Macedonia for eight weeks to volunteer with Project Hope in the NICU. I grew and learned so much in those eight weeks. I learned a whole different culture. That there are many parts of the world that still don’t have the appropriate supplies to save human life. I learned that growing up in the United States jaded me and didn’t allow me to understand that basic necessities are not a right but a privilege that unfortunately, most people don’t have. I have learned to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. To enjoy myself at dinner when nobody spoke English. To be alone with my thoughts and learn more about myself than I even knew possible! I learned that shopska salad is one of my favorite dishes and no matter how hard I try to recreate it, I can’t. But most importantly I learned that it is so important to give back your time to those in need. To be selfless, understanding, and grateful in all circumstances because there are those out there who also are fighting a battle that you know nothing about.
WE are shaping, and changing lives
So… for my fellow nurse friends out there (and future nurses), I hope that we can all take away this. That while we are working another weekend, another holiday, another nightshift. Away from our families and loved ones. We are also shaping and changing people’s lives. We are able to provide care, laughs, love and compassion to so many people day in and day out. And that is something that we should all be proud of.
While nursing has allowed me so much, it has also taught me so much