A famous Yiddish proverb reads: “Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht” or “Man plans and God laughs.” In colloquial terms, we often hear the phrase, “God looks at man’s plans and laughs.”
God definitely laughed at my nascent ideas for my career. I wanted to be a principal, a pharmacist, a lawyer, a businesswoman, a writer. I wanted to be in charge, slightly removed from the world, yet changing the world.
But the Lord brought me to nursing, and through the vocation of nursing, He continues to bring me to Himself.
As a child, I fell in love with science. I loved the objectivity, the methodical processes, the key to locking the mystery of the universe. Too, as a child, I experienced the suffering of losing loved ones to sickness and unexpected death from accidents. I felt powerless in their deaths, and I wanted to do something.
As college approached, I knew I wanted to be in health care. I loved the science of the body, and I loved the idea of saving people. The goddaughter of two wonderful physicians, I knew I did not want the lifestyle of a modern doctor. An experienced pharmacy technician, I did not want the lack of connection of a retail pharmacist. I knew I wanted to be a provider, either a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. Nursing would allow me to work in the field before going back to graduate school. Nursing seemed like a natural fit.
Little did I know what I got myself into. (Thank God for that!)
I attended nursing school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Upon graduation, I start working at the local teaching hospital on a surgical/trauma intermediate care unit. After almost 2 years of nursing and 6 years, I fulfilled a dream of travel nursing, which is working short-term contracts at hospitals across the country. I spent 6 months in New England and 4 months in San Francisco Bay Area, California, both at well-regarded teaching hospitals.
Though I started nursing thinking I wanted to specialize in geriatrics, I quickly discovered the Emergency Department would combine my love of puzzles, adrenaline, and teamwork. I ended my travel nursing adventure and started working in the ED of a teaching hospital in the Milwaukee area. I’m currently enrolled in graduate school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Nursing has challenged me in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Physically, it has pushed me to my limits as I’ve stayed up for night shifts and worked exhausting 12-hour work shifts.
Mentally, it has broadened my mind and allowed me to explore the mystery of the human body.
Emotionally, it has caused me countless moments of anguish. I have missed out on important moments in my loved ones’ lives to be a helping hand in someone else’s. I have delivered heart-breaking news that visibly shattered people’s lives. I have been the last person to try to pump life into a person’s body during CPR. I have caused people pain, not knowing if the therapy I’m administering will improve anything. I have been cursed at, swung at, spit at, punched, and verbally assaulted. I have been pushed to every emotional limit I have.
Spiritually, it has forced me to look at my broken humanity. Nursing has taught me the importance of a savior. The sick unlike the healthy need someone outside of them to heal them. I cannot suture my own wounds. I cannot place my own IV. I cannot perform surgery on myself. I have watched countless patients struggle with their new-found helplessness as I continue to struggle to place myself humbly and weakly at our Lord’s feet. Nursing has forced me to acknowledge that I like every other human being need someone, Someone, outside myself to continually save me.
As Jesus said in Luke 5:31-32, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” So too, he has used the profession, nay the vocation, of nursing to call me to repentance and greater reliance on Him.
This is my story, the stories of my patients, and spiritual musings that have helped me to grow in my faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
A note on HIPAA: I take my privacy very seriously, and I deeply respect the privacy of my patients. Any patients mentioned have had information altered, omitted, or wiped clean of any HIPAA identifiers to protect their privacy.
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