Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    What I Did Over My Summer Vacation, Or, Why I Want to Be a Nurse

    Ok Dear Readers, here's my essay. I need to send it in before Friday. I'd greatly appreciate a quick but thorough read-through to catch any typos, grammatical errors, Freudian slips, silk slips, or stoatgobbler mangroves (thanks Stucco).

    Thank you, guys.

    Discuss your motivation and professional goals for a career in nursing. Include any experience that demonstrates your preparation for, and understanding of, the profession of nursing. Also include experience with diverse groups and/or underserved populations. (Diverse groups can include characteristics of gender, age, ethnicity, race, geographic location, education, etc.)

    The simple answer to the question, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” comes from my positive experience with nurses through hospital stays during my pregnancy. I would love to work in labor and delivery and give back to all the scared moms-to-be the reassurance and excellent medical care that was given to me. But I have come to realize that my desire to become a nurse actually arises from three periods in my life.

    The first time I cleaned the inner cannula of a tracheostomy tube I was five years old. The 'trache' belonged to my older brother C, who suffered from occipital encephalocele, leaving him brain damaged and completely paralyzed. I helped my parents care for him for the next nine years, until his death at the age of sixteen. I felt that cleaning his trache, feeding him and rubbing his head during one of his frequent seizures made a big difference in his quality of life, and I still believe this. But just before my brother's death, I watched a nurse (a friend of the family who came over late one night after her shift) help with C's new feeding tube. R expertly handled the procedure, as well as reassured my mom and put her at ease. I wanted to emulate her, to be of 'real' use to someone who was suffering. I've never forgotten R, and have tried to take her tone and manner while counseling others through their grief; those who have special-needs children, or who have lost a child or cannot have one of their own. R taught me a very important lesson in patient and family communication that I believe is vital to nursing. And taking care of C from an early age gave me an intimate understanding of the needs of the disabled.

    My family is a medical family. My mom was a medical technologist, one cousin is a nurse and another is a pathologist. I've always felt comfortable in hospitals. As a teenager I worked as a hospital 'lab rat' – entering patient data, filing reports and occasionally retrieving errant paperwork from cadavers in the morgue (gotta love hazing!). One thing I loved about my job (besides the weird pathology stories) was talking to the nurses when they'd phone in CBCs and other results. I remember asking about a ridiculously low white count and the nurse told me it was actually up from the day before. Her patient had cancer. I followed his numbers, wishing I could somehow help him more, the way that she did.

    When I was pregnant with twins, I was hospitalized twice for premature labor, then suffered gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The nurses were the ones who kept my spirits up and kept my babies and me alive. After my experiences, I decided that I wanted to be the person who helped other women in my situation. I want to be there when they hear their baby for the first time of course, but I 'really' want to be there in the middle of the night when they are scared or lonely or when I can do something that will help ensure that their pregnancies have happy endings.

    My experiences as the sister of a special-needs child, as a lab rat and as a patient have given me the desire and the outlook necessary to become a nurse. I hope you will consider me for a place in the *** College of Nursing. Thank you.

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    9 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    This is really beautiful. It reminded me of the times when nurses made a huge difference in my emotional well-being during hospital experiences. Sometimes they were not making a good difference. But it all the more made me understand the heroism of nurses that do make good differences. They are often the only warmth a patient has in the middle of the night or alone during the day. And hospitals are the loneliest places.

    1:48 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    Really strong case you make here. I'm very moved. Wish I ran a nursing school so I could put you at the head of the class.

    4:29 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    Pants, I don't read any errors or silly bits, just more of what I've come to expect from you--solid, moving writing that gets right to the heart of the matter.

    If you don't get accepted then they're godsdamned fools.

    7:12 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Anonymous Daisy wrote in a love letter...

    Splendid! Shows that you are committed and not pie-in-the-sky -- that you already know what you are getting into rather than giving in to some candy striper fantasy you've had since you were a teen. They want people who will stick with it and not drop out when that medical stuff turns out to be more "icky" than they thought it was going to be.

    Your experiences are moving as well as practical -- and in terms of the telling -- well, it's you! So visceral and beautiful and wrenching all at once!

    Of course, while I give it high marks (as do my blogcolleagues), I've learned the perils of not giving Them what They want -- have you answered the part, do you think, about the underserved/diverse population? I'm not sure what it is they are thinking of there -- that you've volunteered in an AIDS ward? Worked in a free clinic in an urban/rural environment? Devised the solution to the problems with the US healthcare system and will reveal all as soon as they let you in?

    7:19 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    Nancy, this is beautiful.

    However, being the nazi that i am about resumes and things, i do have a few suggestions.

    Keep in mind that this is YOUR letter, and feel free to ignore me.

    "I would love to work in labor and delivery and give back to all the scared moms-to-be the reassurance and excellent medical care that was given to me. But I have come to realize that my desire to become a nurse actually arises from three periods in my life. "

    Either make it all one sentence, or remove/change the word 'BUT' And i think you should start a new paragraph there, because you are now going into the three reasons. Actually, i would take out the 'But i have come to realize that...'

    "And taking care of C from an early age gave me an intimate understanding of the needs of the disabled"

    Take out the "And" You could replace in with "In addition" or something like that.

    " 'really' "

    Take the quotes out of here and use italics.

    Small things Nancy, none of them dilute this beautiful essay, but you asked.

    8:01 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Blogger Stucco wrote in a love letter...

    What meno said. Plus, way to play it safe and suck up. Probably better than my idea of telling them you like the feeling of afterbirth through your ungloved fingers, or that you like the machine that goes "Bing!".

    They don't have one of those amusement park style "you must be this big to attend nursing school" signs, do they? Fuck 'em- well get you up on some drywallers stilts. Come to think of it- that could be your gimmick for the "naughty nurse" trade...

    9:36 PM, November 11, 2008  
    Blogger D-Man wrote in a love letter...

    The only glaring error I can see here is that you keep spelling labour without a "u".

    :)

    2:48 AM, November 12, 2008  
    Blogger Gordo wrote in a love letter...

    That's a wonderful piece, Nancy. Nurses are the most important people in a medical setting. They see and hear things that doctors miss and they're the people that patients come to rely on for almost everything.

    We're short of them up here, too and the government is too stupid to make the money available to hire them,

    That seems to be endemic in the blogosphere, D-Man. ;-)

    5:54 AM, November 13, 2008  
    Blogger Mona Buonanotte wrote in a love letter...

    Nurses make a hospital stay either good or bad. It's not the doctors. When I've had a good nurse, I'm immediately at ease and seem to heal better. I'd love you to be my nurse...anytime!

    12:27 PM, November 17, 2008  

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