I think most nurses would agree with me when I say we get asked many questions.
We get asked everything from our neighbors calling to little sis asking stuff like “what do you think this is Rick?” or the most common, “can you explain what that doctor said because I have no idea what she just told me.” But since I am a male nurse, I honestly get asked the question, “So why a nurse and not a doctor?” the most.
My response is always something like this, “I didn’t really choose nursing, but I always knew I wanted to help people.”
Nursing wasn’t my dream career
I thought about things little boys wanted to be when I was a kid.
Maybe a soldier or a soccer player, and in my teens, I was thinking about becoming a writer. I grew up pretty vanilla, played sports, and did so-so in school. Nothing extraordinary, I might add.
It wasn’t until I was in the hospital as a child that everything changed.
It was for a major surgery where I had half of my lung removed. It’s called a lobectomy, but all you need to know is I was a scared kid who thought I would die.
Yeah, I did.
I even asked my parents if I was gonna die.
Obviously, things turned out OK, but here’s where the shift happened.
As I was laying there one day, tubes sticking out of me, IVs dripping, and the pain. Sheesh…the pain…I remember the sites, the sounds, the scents of the hospital. And I loved it. All of it.
Then it happened.
I met my first nurse.
I couldn’t tell you if she was young or old…blonde or redhead…but what I can say is that she exuded caring, skill, and genuine compassion.
And I knew I’d found my calling.
Sometimes your career chooses you
Years later, I decided to enroll in college.
When I had to check the box for my major, I saw “Nursing” and marked it.
But let me go back to that one question, why a nurse and not an MD? I mean, aren’t they both helping folks? Aren’t they both on the same team?
Yes, and yes.
But at that time in my life, I was married to a doctor. I watched her go through med school, residency, and then into practice. It was a ton of work. Even more dedication. Plus, we had two little girls, and because of her training, she missed some life events.
I didn’t want that.
It always came back to nursing and becoming one. Over the course of my teen years and volunteering in hospitals, I learned how demanding and critical nurses actually are to patient care. I saw firsthand how every day was a new challenge and obstacle to overcome. I watched and witnessed how nurses collaborated, assessed, diagnosed, planned, implemented, and evaluated their patient care.
After seeing all this firsthand, and of course, being married to a physician, my nursing journey began.
So why travel nursing?
I don’t necessarily love to travel.
What I do love is an adventure and new hospitals. I love the newness. I loved new ERs.
But travel? Meh.
The thing is, travel was a way for me to accomplish what I was seeking.
I’d go to a new city and a new facility, and I was not only able to grab my 3-shifts per contract, but I’d often sign on with a per-diem agency and explore other local facilities.
Yeah, I worked a lot.
It may sound hypocritical, me working a lot…but I actually started traveling after my kids were a bit older. Plus, I was divorced. But I digress.
Me and nursing, today
It’s been 25 years now since I finished RN school.
During that time, I’ve been a staff ER nurse, a travel RN, done crisis contracts, been a JCAHO surveyor, and have been a healthcare administrator.
And as I write this, I work 3 shifts a week in a stand-alone emergency room in San Antonio, Texas. I also do freelance writing and journalism. Hence, this article you’re reading.
But even after all these years, I still get asked the same old questions. Funny though, a recent patient asked me something new. He said, “If you could go back and do it all over it. Would you choose a different career?”
I didn’t hesitate and said, “Nah, this career and all it’s brought to my life are irreplaceable, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.