When I began to write this article, I realized that it was going to be more difficult than I had anticipated. Looking back over my 30 years as a nurse, my recollection is that my passion for nursing didn’t begin until several years after graduation from nursing school. Unlike many others in the nursing community who have written about this topic, I had no burning desire or calling to go to nursing school.
At age 18 and straight out of high school, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. My mother and aunts were nurses, and since I enjoyed being with people and had one of those personality types that liked to nurture others, it seemed like a good fit for me.
Nursing school was an adventure. I found that I enjoyed the classes more than I expected that I would. With each clinical rotation I began to think about my long term career in nursing and in what area I would work after graduation. I practiced nursing for while, but the real world wasn’t what I thought it would be. Four years after graduation, I went back to college to complete a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. I wanted to give myself other options in the event that I decided to leave nursing altogether.
While attending college once again, I needed an income, so I took a position in a neonatal ICU. I absolutely loved it. I finished my business degree but stayed in the unit for several more years. Caring for the babies became my passion, and comforting parents who were having a hard time dealing with what they were going through was something that I found I could do well. “Nursing” has been defined as the profession of caring for the ill, injured, or infirm. It became so much more than that to me.
I was still young and idealistic to some extent, but I began to understand my role in the lives of these babies and families. I was the person who was there for 12 hours at a time to comfort them all. I was the one who made sure that the babies’ physical needs were met, and that they received the best possible care. I would leave work sometimes feeling as though I could change the community in nursing, and other days feeling as though I hadn’t done anything well enough.
Finding your passion as a nurse is like flipping a switch, which led to professional happiness and fulfillment. I learned later in my career that my passion didn’t fade after I left the neonatal ICU, but it only became stronger after being exposed to many more areas of our profession. Most recently I have worked in the area of nursing regulation and find that I am still just as excited and proud to be a nurse.
We all have days when we wonder what we were thinking when we chose this profession or current job. The fact that we are still here means that at some point in our nursing career we had that passion. It may take a job change to find it again, or it may just take some soul-searching. The important thing is that we do remember and find it once again. The nursing community have too much to give to others who need the care, comfort, and skills that we can provide to give up. I don’t regret obtaining it, but I am so glad that I never used my business degree!
Never lose your passion and remember that in nursing community, you are the most important member.