I Am A Nurse

StethoscopeThis is my stethoscope. It was a surprise gift from my children and husband soon after I was accepted into nursing school. They bought me a top of the line with great ratings and a stiff price tag. At the time it seemed too much to me, a soon-to-be nursing student. Now I wear it every shift I work.

This new weight of responsibility reminded me of that feeling when I brought my first baby home. Am I ready for this? Can I do this and do it well? That first night, I awoke in the quiet darkness just before I heard my baby girl’s newborn voice just starting to let her need be known. I was instinctively alert to her need. That night, I felt like a mother for the first time.

Now, as a new nurse, I was asking the same questions. Am I ready for this? Can I do this and do it well?

I clearly remember a night soon after I came off orientation when I was taking a team of patients alone. I was so nervous. My patient was a tiny little lady admitted for kidney issues and dehydration. She was receiving IV fluids and was scheduled for tests to find out what was going on inside her delicate body. Around 2:00 am, I noticed she was more restless. Her heart rate was slightly elevated. I checked her pulse and listened to her lungs.

Instantly, I knew what was happening. I could hear the change in her lungs from my assessment at the beginning of the shift. Her weak heart could not handle the fluids that had been ordered and her lungs were beginning to back up with fluid. I heard the tiny crackling sound with my stethoscope.

I immediately turned off the IV pump, sat her upright, and encouraged her to cough. I monitored her closely, documenting the changes and validating my decision in the chart.

If I had simply followed orders, my patient could have been in respiratory distress or developed pneumonia by the time her doctor did rounds the next day.

Despite my totally new, totally scared, totally intimidated brand-new nurse status, I knew then that my training had prepared me to not only assess and advocate for my patients, but to potentially save their life.

That night, I knew that I was a nurse.

I still have so much to learn. An experienced cardiac nurse colleague of mine recently told me that she learns something new every single day. Part of why I love nursing is the opportunity to never stop learning and getting better.

Why? Because I love my patients. There is something incredibly intimate and vulnerable about each person who is my patient. The responsibility and privilege is something I take very seriously.

I am a nurse. I wear a stethoscope. I will be listening.

~Lisa Johnson

2 Responses to “I Am A Nurse”

  1. Jacoline Sommer Says:

    I am also impressed with the beautiful emotion full reflection and I will share this reflection with my nursing students. In addition your words gave me lots of thinking materials for the nursing students who join nursing profession without any mission and been sent to nursing forcefully. They must ask this question are they ready to take this responsibility and do they really know about nursing.
    God bless you more and may use you for HIS work abundantly.
    Jacoline Sommer
    NCF Pakistan

  2. sjamisonncf Says:

    What an artfully crafted and poignantly written reflection on your journey from a beginning student to an experienced nurse who LISTENS with both her stethoscope and heart. How encouraging it was to me to read how you are imitating the Great Physician who listens to you and to those for whom you care through you. He planned long ago for you to wear and use your stethoscope. Ephesians 2:10

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