2014 Winning Essay
Mid Michigan Community College
April 3, 2007 forever changed my life. My oldest child, then just 2 years old, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage IV; a rare and deadly childhood cancer. With a prognosis of 20-40% survival for 5 years, my family and I struggled for hope. The following years were ones of turmoil and rampant emotions as I watched him fight for his life, knowing every choice we made impacted him greatly. However; the nurses at University of Michigan Mott’s Children’s Hospital also forever changed our lives. They gave us hope. Their selfless actions, teaching, support and compassion made our constant admissions feel like a home away from home.
With this in mind, I want to thank you for the “A Nurse I Am” videos and the differences you are making by promoting and rewarding nursing excellence. I was moved, challenged and encouraged as I watched Mona, Bob, and Ardis interact with their patients. I was brought to tears while watching Bob interact with his patients. Our similar journeys led me to nursing. I had been a Medical Assistant for 5 years when my son was diagnosed with cancer. I had first-hand experiences with nurses like Bob. Nurses who gave above and beyond and then gave more, day in and day out. I am so thankful for them and the experiences I had witnessing that kind of character. My admiration of their constant compassion and caring, along with my own personal experiences led me to pursue giving back to others as they had given to me.
I feel my personal background is important to know in order to fully understand how I will overcome the temptation of focusing more on my goals than on my patient. I genuinely care for people. People as individuals, but also as a whole. I am also aware of the demands that will be put on me to accomplish tasks while caring for patients. Currently, it is difficult for me to look at a patient of any age and not feel an affectionate need to help them. I visualize my grandma, my mom, or my son. I have already asked peers at the clinical site to hold me accountable when providing patient centered care. I remember the nurses at the hospital who went above and beyond making a huge impact in my life and I remember those who just did their job. I know which type of nurse I want to be. Another strategy I am adopting is seeing myself as a nurse and giving myself positive self-talk as a way of encouragement. Lastly, I plan to pause throughout my day and remind myself often of the reason why I am there; the people. Without my patients, peers, doctors, clergy, etc. I have no reason to be there because, I have no one to serve.
“Starting as you mean to go” really sets the pace for what I am planning to do throughout my schooling to ensure strength against the temptation to be goal oriented and not patient focused. One step I have already implemented is sharing my biggest fear-of becoming hardened by experiencing loss and not wanting to make myself vulnerable again-with my peers. Because I am so sensitive to this, I am constantly self-evaluating and reflecting on my behaviors. Secondly, I plan to use my time in nursing school to instill positive habits, grow my time management skills, and practice efficient technique; the goal being to free up time for patients as they need it. I would like to pray for my patients as I wash my hands, personalize interactions by calling patients by their desired name, and foster relationship by actively listening. Also I will take time for myself, to refresh and recharge, so I will be able to consistently give without becoming burned out.
Lastly, I will learn as much as I can in the classroom so I can educate my patients to be their own advocates. One of my greatest achievements in life was learning to be an advocate for my son; knowing when it was okay to choose to deviate from the doctors recommended course of action, to offer my son the best personalized care. I want to offer courage and freedom to my patients; to make educated decisions, individualized for their care. I want to offer them hope, just as it was offered to me.