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I want to share a couple stories with you.
The death of my grandpa . . .
The first one is during my first semester of nursing school, my grandpa passed away and it was right in the first few weeks of nursing school.
So I was just getting bearings on what it meant to be a nursing student. And he passed away.
He was in Arizona, I was in Illinois. I realized that I couldn't be there with him.
But someone was there with him in the hospital . . . his nurses.
When I thought on that, a switch clicked in my head, and I realized that for my patients, I am that person who's there with them while their family might not be able to be there or they might not have family, that as a nurse, I was going to be the person who was there with those patients.
And I wanted the nurses who were there taking care of my grandfather to care about him and to take care of him and to have that compassion with him.
And that really helped me understand that was going to be my role. And that gave me a very strong sense of why.
The birth of my son . . .
During my first semester of nursing school my son was born and he had a couple issues that required him to stay in the hospital during his first couple weeks of life.
My wife and I were sleeping at the hospital. I would go to nursing school and then come back and be with him.
But there was one night where we were extremely tired, and so we went down to the hospital cafeteria to get some food.
And when we came back a few minutes later after eating, his nurse, her name was Tracy (I still remember her name 12 years later) was sitting there giving him a bath and cuddling him and keeping him warm.
And it was very clear with the way that she was taking care of him and working with him, that she cared very deeply about him, about his exact needs in that moment.
And it was in that moment that I truly realized that everyone is going to have that one nurse that they remember forever.
Here I am 12 years later, and I still remember her. I remember that moment. I remember the sense of walking in there and that comfort that I had, knowing that she was there with my son taking care of him.
What is your why . . .
You guys, this journey is not easy.
And I know that maybe you haven't yet, but there's going to be a time in your career, whether that's in nursing school or whether it's as a nurse, that you're going to hit some kind of proverbial wall.
You're going to feel like you can't keep going forward.
But I want you guys to think about that. Why?
Think about those moments that you've had that have helped you see why you're doing this. And if you need to write that down, put it as a screensaver on your phone. Send yourself an email every now and then with your why.
We need you. We need nurses who care. We need you to stay in the career field. We need you to work in the career field.
You can do this.
I know that there's moments when it all seems impossible, but you can do this and I know that you can do this, so stick with it.