Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Not Just A Nurse

Why did I become a nurse?

That question sometimes makes me stop and think for a second...why did I?

Well, as a senior in high school, I watched my grandfather struggle and battle with lung cancer. I watched as his health slowly declined. I watched as he was placed on hospice, toting oxygen with long tubing attached to it all around his house. I remember the day he passed away and I remember exactly how it happened. I remember being sad because he wasn't at my high school graduation. I remember how I proudly wore the jewelry he purchased for me that matched my senior ring (he even called the school ahead of time to ask about the stone/colors in my ring). I remember thinking that I never wanted anyone else to feel the emptiness of losing a loved one to this horrible disease we call cancer.

Once I started nursing school, I thought pediatrics was my calling. Boy did I love my pedi rotation. As a senior graduate nursing student, I even had the opportunity to work with a Pediatric ICU nurse for six weeks - and I loved every minute.

However, my vision changed once I graduated, passed NCLEX, and became an RN. My eyes were opened to the incredible world of Oncology nursing....making a difference in people's lives on a DAILY basis, helping patients live longer/better lives and having a better quality of life in their last days. It wasn't just the patients though - it was their family members, too...holding their hands and telling them that everything would be ok after their loved ones passed away...and it would, eventually.

After a time on the inpatient floor, a wonderful door of opportunity opened for me and led me where I am today. Now, I get to work with a wide variety of oncology patients, many of them I now call my friends. Here, I get to see a patient for weeks at a time, and on a daily basis at that. I know what my patients and their family members sound like on the phone - and most of them know the sound of my voice, too. I have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate, rejoice, and cry happy tears with patients when they receive positive reports...and I love every minute!

I've seen patients and their families out in public (when I'm not in my scrubs) and they recognize me and remember my name. It happened this past Saturday at a local college football's also happened at the mall, while out to eat, at the movies...need I go on? Not only am I able to help make a difference in patients lives, but they make a difference in mine too.

I'm honored that I was called and chosen to be a nurse and I'm proud to work in my profession.

Recently, a group of women on The View decided to degrade and bash Miss Colorado for her bold move in this weekend's Miss America Pageant. She walked across the stage in navy blue scrubs, white shoes, and she wore a stethoscope around her neck. In the talent portion of the competition, Miss Colorado shared about the reason she became a nurse and how she helped make a difference in a specific patient's life. She also served to remind the millions of nurses out there that we are NOT JUST A NURSE.

Bashing fellow professionals is NOT ok. I realize that the show is called "The View" and it's all about their opinions, but what Michelle and Joy said was wrong on so many levels and the uproar on social media from fellow nurses makes my heart proud.

Ladies of The View, let me say this - everyone gets old or sick at some point in their life. Millions are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, lung problems, etc on a regular basis. Before you bash a nurse, you should think about that fact (please know I would never wish any kind of sickness on anyone) because one day, you might need a nurse - one who will treat you with compassion and respect....not because it's a job, but because it's a calling. 

Proud of my profession,
Proud to be a nurse,
Not JUST a nurse,
--Karen :)

Have a fantastic day!


  1. What a great story about why you became a nurse. Its great that you love your job and love working with the people you get to work with on a regular basis. Keep doing what you're doing!

  2. I love your story! My mom's a nurse, and while it's not the profession she would've chosen for herself (She says my grandma pushed her into it), I know she's proud of all of her accomplishments, and that she's able to help people, especially her family. I once asked her the difference between doctors and nurses, because nurses are seen only as assistants, and doctors could do their job, but she said that isn't the case. Nurses are no longer JUST doctor assistants. They have their own set of skills that doctors don't have. I'd always treated nurses with respect, but I feel like I have even more respect after she told me that, because I could see the equal footing between the two professions. I never watch the view, but degrading nurses sounds like something they'd do. I heard Miss Colorado's speech and thought it was amazing. :-)

  3. My mom and both of my grandmothers were nurses (all now retired). They are some of the most hard working women I know. We have also been through fertility treatments and several difficult pregnancies, and I don't know if I could have gotten through it without our nurses. I had nurses that cried with me and nurses that literally jumped up and down in excitement for us.

    Thank you so much for all you do for your patients. It is often much more appreciated than we ever get the chance to tell you!

  4. This is why I don't watch shows like that. I have so much respect for the medical community, especially after my grandmother's long sickness and death. Thank you for everything you do.

  5. I swear those women are nuts. Cancer has had a huge impact on my life & I know how awesome it is to have nurses that care and are compassionate with loved ones. I for one am thankful for people like you. I know it's something I could never do (I pass out easily! lol). Thanks again!

  6. I loathe that show. Those women are ridiculous.

  7. Thank you for this post and all the hard work you do to help others!

  8. *slow clap* I saw what they said and I saw red. I'm not a nurse, but I have family and friends who are. They are incredible and talented. There is nothing just about being a nurse. Being a nurse is challenging and amazing and should be respected. Way to go you :)

  9. I LOVED reading about why you became a nurse! I think being a nurse is an amazing gift! It takes a special person to fill those shoes!

  10. I recently spent time in the hospital, and many days on the oncology ward (not because I had a cancer diagnosis, but because that was where there was an available bed) Every day I was there, I saw a Doctor once a day, but saw many nurses. I appreciate and respect the Doctors for what they do and don't mean to minimize that in any way, but it was the nurses who were with me each step of the day ALL day. They comforted me, advocated for me, and cared for me. In a time when I felt most vulnerable and scared, those nurses were there for me. (And I haven't even mentioned all the "skills" that being a nurse entails!!). I think Miss Colorado did a very brave thing and personally, I believe that inserting an IV, providing compassion to a scared individual, and many of the other skills that nurses utilize every day requires an extraordinary amount of talent. Thank you to all the nurses across the world and congratulations to Miss Colorado!! There may be a select few individuals saying disrespectful things about her, but many more of us know exactly how amazing she is!

  11. You know how much I admire you and what you do! Your story about your grandpa reminds me of my grandma who also passed away from cancer.

  12. I have been a nurse for 25 years and a nurse practitioner for 12. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. Anyone with the antiquated view of nurses as the handmaidens of doctors is just not paying attention to reality.

  13. Great post. I'm a PNP, and have been a nurse for 30 years. Nursing has struggled with image issues for years. The View should be ashamed of themselves.

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