When I was 17, my parents flew me to College Station, Texas, to help my grandparents for 6 weeks. My granddaddy was dying and they knew he would be gone soon. My grandmother would certainly need someone able-bodied to help her. Two weeks into my stay, my granddaddy died. The weeks that came afterward were beautiful, hard, and irreplaceable. It was during those first 2 weeks that I discovered that I wanted to be a home health and/or hospice nurse.
Nursing was my calling.
Two years later, I went to college and obtained my nursing license in a 4-year period. It was tough, but there was a yearning inside me that had to take care of people. Honestly, the closer to death a patient was, the more at peace I felt taking care of them and ensuring that they got a respectful and dignified death.
After I graduated and passed my national board licensing exam, I got a job as a night nurse. I was in that position for 1 year, 9 months before I moved on to work as a palliative nurse for a home health & hospice agency. Palliative care is the bridge that occurs between HH and Hospice care. It’s focused on the patient and anything that may affect them. It’s not about curing anyone, but creating a holistic approach to making life better for them.
I was in love.
This was exactly what I was hoping to do, plus I’d reached my goal relatively early in my career. After all, I had only been out of college for just under 2 years when I got the job. I had a lot to learn, which I did, and I felt perfectly at home there.
Then I became pregnant.
My husband and I planned the pregnancy. I’ve always said I wanted to start having babies by the time I turned 27, and that’s what happened. What I didn’t take into account was that I would have such a hard time making the decision about whether or not I should stop work completely, go back part-time, or work full-time. I’ve always held the belief that if you can live on one paycheck, then one of the parents should stay home. I lean toward believing Mom should be that parent. Thankfully, my husband and I discovered that we could do this.
Time to say goodbye…kind of.
I decided that I needed to be the stay-at-home mom, especially while my baby was going to be in the baby stage. At this point, I felt some comfort in the fact that I could easily go back part-time once my little was 6 months old, which is what I ended up doing. My mom watches her on Mondays and I get to work. It’s been a great arrangement and I’m so grateful we are near enough to family to be able to do this.
Now I’m pregnant again.
The question has changed this time around. I’m not just taking a sabbatical for a few months. I’m actually going to have to “hang up my stethoscope” for an unforeseen amount of time due to other factors. All those hours of schooling, clinicals, working…poof.
Do they even mean anything?
Yes, they do.
Just because I’m leaving for a time does not mean my identity as a nurse is taken away from me. I think like a nurse, act like a nurse…I am a nurse. No matter where I go, or what I do, I will always care for those around me. This transition will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do, but it is based on a decision that I believe to be the best for my family. I’ve got to remember that. If I don’t, I will become prey to my inner doubtful thoughts. My family comes first.
What difficult choices have you faced in regards to your family? Do you still struggle with these choices, or has time made it easier?