May 22, 2010

baby steps

When I was in 8th grade, I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I'm not sure what did it. It was, perhaps, the conversation with my locker partner during a sleep over in which we were talking about what we never wanted to do with our lives.

My response: a nurse.

The voice in my head: too bad, you will be.

I don't know if you can call that the voice of God or the early manifestations of my stubborn attitude. Either way, 8 years later, I got the news. I got pinned, I graduated, I took my boards, and, this just in, I PASSED! Yesterday the man at REI asked me what I did. I said "I'm a nurse! Sort of."

No Sarah, you are a nurse. The state of Kansas and the NCSBN say so.

Anyways, I had a lot of excitement going into nursing school. I wanted to be a pediatric oncology nurse. Maybe labor and delivery. Maybe, if I was REALLY interested, an ER nurse.

I finished my first clinical with relief. I hated it. I hated clinicals with a fiery passion. It was nerve-wracking, and I always came out feeling very aware of how little I knew. It was sort of hopeless at times. After that year, I was a little lost, so I moved away from Kansas City to Washington for the summer. I came back reluctantly and started into what is known to be the hardest semester of nursing school.

On my second week of clinical in Adult Health, on the telemetry floor, my clinical instructor came and sat next to me. Our conversation went something like this:

"Sarah, I'm disappointed in your performance. I know you are capable of more than this. You could be a great nurse, and you aren't doing anything to challenge yourself. Do you even want to be here?"

"No. I don't. I hate nursing school. I don't really like clinicals."

"Well, you better find some motivation or get out of the program. Because with that attitude, you won't make it through. Figure it out."

A kick in the pants. A kick in the stomach. And it made me so angry that I set out to show him I could hate nursing school and make it through. Each week my paper work got better, he was more encouraging, and I walked out of that clinical a little smarter.

When I finished junior year and went to Haiti, I wasn't prepared for what was to come. But it was in those weeks that the transformation began, and it was in this place that the motivation took hold.

The clinic at MOH and the staff began to instill in me the motivation to continue through school.
The opportunity to change these dressings, a daily dressing change for this dear friend, gave me to motivation to be better.

A week ago, I was pinned. As we walked across the stage to be pinned and prayed over, the man who once told me to find some motivation or get out of the program read my thank you. My final thank you went to the young man whose legs are pictured above - because without him and without the clinic, I would not have finished.

And now, with the incredible gift of my education, I hope I can begin to use it in the ways in which the Lord would have me. May He establish the work of our hands.


  1. what a beautiful journey... i am excited to 'baby step' with you!