I have been a registered nurse for almost 32 years and during that time I have been fortunate enough to witness a newborn baby taking its first breath and I have also been there to witness when a loved one has taken their last. There are definitely highs and lows in nursing and I am happy to say that the highs far outweigh the lows.
I do not know of many professions that offer as many opportunities as nursing. I started my career in 1985 as a critical care nurse. I really liked my job caring for the patients and being supportive of family members. Being a critical care nurse really taught me what family-centered care is all about. Being a shoulder to cry on for families or someone to talk to about not being ready to let go of their loved one, is something I hold dear. I used to work night shift and on several occasions, made it possible for families to stay overnight in the room with their loved one, back in a time when visiting hours were less flexible, and was told frequently how getting to spend this time with their loved one meant everything to them. Nursing school prepared me for a lot of things, but handling the death of a patient and a grieving family was something that felt like it came from within, from the sense of compassion that inspired me to become a nurse in the first place.
After getting married and moving to Cincinnati, I had the opportunity to work with a friend at the office of two reproductive endocrinologists. That is when everything changed for me. I didn't know it when I accepted the position, but the two physicians that I had just agreed to work for had just signed on to start an IVF program at The Christ Hospital. It was the best decision I had ever made. I not only loved my job, I loved where I was working and the people I was working with. Fertility nursing was very rewarding despite also being heartbreaking. Telling a couple that their dreams were finally going to come true was the best part of my work, but having to call and give the devastating news that they were not pregnant was the worst. Ten years later, the physicians I was working for decided to start their own practice, so I had to decide between going with them and leaving the hospital setting or looking for something else at the hospital.
I worked part time in the operating room at the hospital, and part time in the physician practice for a few months before deciding to work full time in the OR. I had decided that I only wanted to work one place, and that place was The Christ Hospital. I have now been in the OR for 16 years and I can honestly say that no two days are the same. Having surgery can be one of the most uncertain times in a person's life and I get to be there with them to comfort them as they go off to sleep and reassure them and their family that we are going to take good care of them. I have been given so many opportunities for professional growth during my time in the OR. In all my years of nursing and of the various hospitals that I have worked for, none have provided a platform for nurses to have their voices heard the way we do. The Christ Hospital truly cares above the rest, not only for its patients but also for its nurses.