When I First Started – Some Thoughts

When I first started working in the emergency room, I didn’t know any of the other nurses, doctors or staff. I felt insecure and intimidated—maybe I’d made the wrong choice? This environment was too intense—no let up with doctors yelling orders, patients screaming and nurses running from one gurney to the next taking blood, vitals and pressuring wounds. On my breaks, I would go to the cafeteria to get something to eat and drink—to just take in being alone in the relative quiet—and often sat next to different nurses on other floors who would say, “Are you crazy? How can you take all that pressure night after night?” And another would chime in, “Come see how it is on my floor. Internal medicine is a piece of cake in comparison,” and then another nurse would say, ”Even cardiac would be easier than what’s going on down there,” or “Why don’t you become an operating room nurse like your mother? —no working weekends, 9 to 5 with good benefits— intense if that’s what you like.” I visited the different floors at their invitation and watched, but I decided that I didn’t want to do exactly what my mother had. It was enough that I had carried on the tradition of being a nurse. I wanted to carve out my own territory and in spite of the obstacles, I was drawn to the constant excitement and intensity of dealing with life and death situations.