We have bright yellow nursing scrub tops. We follow our professors around in a line always a straggler running to catch up. I think of us as little ducklings.
I remember the first day of clinical, the first week of nursing school. Our professor, after following her in our duckling line to the a conference room, had us take out our stethoscopes and rest them around our necks. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘It’ll be second nature soon.’ We felt like such posers.
Duckling posers and I am 30, corrected 31. Its pretty old to be starting over again again. Old duckling poser. But today I was reminded of why I did this…I can deal with old duckling poser.
After my freshman year of college I was a camp counselor. One of my campers was hit by a falling tree and died. It is a story (most of you know) for another time. What I do want to mention is the intense guilt/shame I felt–some of it I still feel. Not that I didn’t save her–there wasn’t anything anyone could do but I wasn’t there! I never saw her body, I never did cpr. I held the other campers when they came screaming. I should have pushed passed the other counselor in my way–I should have done something more. I didn’t step up.
When I became a graphic designer I was proud of my work. If not the best, I am an efficient, fast designer. I got to work on some pretty cool projects. In the end, as much as I wanted it to be me, it wasn’t me. I sat at my desk hour after hour, counting minutes. I started thinking about what I really wanted to say about myself; what is my ideal self. I realized I want to be the person who steps up when someone else is in trouble. I want to be the person who is brave enough to stop while everyone else walks by.Hence nursing school.
Today, I got to do that. I was biking home and a woman had fallen off a bench. A couple was calling 911 but no one else knew what to do. I jumped off my bike and got down on my knees, talking loudly to her–doing that CPR class ‘Are you okay, are you okay???’ I listened for her breath and felt her pulse. At first she was unconscious, but then she seemed a little bit more aware–not aware but definitely at least alive. After some coaxing and talking she whispered ‘I… seizures.’ I supported her on her side until the EMTs got there.
It wasn’t the most dire of emergencies, but I was useful. I stepped up. Just think of how much I can step up in the future. I want to travel and step up all over the world–if they need me.
Its funny. When I knew she was stable–pulse and breathing okay–I whipped out my stethoscope and put it around my neck. It wasn’t needed, stupid to whip it out after I knew she was okay, the EMTs when they arrived laughed at me and my preparedness…but it helped me at least, I felt secure, comforted.
I might still feel like I am a bit to old too start over, a bit too much like a duckling…but a little less like a poser.