I just finished my last shift at the assisted living I was working at. It's bittersweet. I've worked for 4 years now towards being a nurse, and now that I finally am one (soon to be licensed that is) I feel excited and terrified that I am actually going to be a real nurse. The assisted living I worked at was so great as far as my schedule, or lack there of one, went while I was in school. I worked with a lot of cool people, but really I think it is the residents that I'll miss the most. Working with elderly people truly gives you such a new appreciation for life. Every time I work, I'm reminded that I'm young, my body works so efficiently although I so often complain of minor things, that I have so much left to experience in life and that it goes by so, so quickly. I love to see old photos in their apartments and when I ask them about the pictures, their faces just light up.
I have seen beauty in so many ways working with these people. I truly believe that it has made me even gentler and a more patient person (which a nurse always should be). I have seen love shown in so many ways as well. Almost all of the residents there are warm hearted and truly happy people. They realize that there is no point in being bitter. And the ones that are bitter have such sad, pinched faces. You can feel the lack of warmth in the room. And it's not as though there was never love in their hearts. Many of them are just terribly broken and ready to be done with this physical life. The residents watch out for each other. And they care about each other.
I can't help but think of when I am old and frail, it comforts me to think that every one else will be too. I will have lived a full and loving life because I know even now at 22, that every day is a blessing and every breath is a gift. I am so often humbled when I am at work. I never thought that I would want to do hospice care as a nurse, but I actually now think that I would really enjoy it. It's something very special to be some one's caretaker and know that every single thing you do for them is significant. Everything you do makes a difference in their life. And to take care of some one at the end of their life is a privilege.
That is one of the things that most pleases me about the healthcare profession, that every single work day, you are directly making a difference in someone's life. To leave this world a better place than it was when I got here is really what I want in life. I want to make other's lives better. Happier. Fuller. I honestly feel privileged to be able to call my self a nurse. And to think that I didn't even consider being a nurse for the longest time! It actually kind of randomly hit me (while I was in Sweden I believe), so I just went with it and found out that I really like nursing and am good at it too! Funny how these things work huh.... :) Anyways, I'm feeling very thankful and humbled at this moment. One of my favorite things that one of my residents said to me was "Nurses are the angels of the world." I have already had amazing experiences and I can only imagine what the future holds for me.