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Nurses: The few, the proud, the crazy! Funny stories from nursing school and beyond.
When I decided to become a nurse, it was because I wanted stable work and needed a stable paycheck. Once I got started, it was harder than I thought it would be, but strangely more enjoyable as well.
There were days I cried, days I threatened to quit and days I laughed so hard that I wondered how I could ever imagine doing anything else. I'd like to share some of those funny and crazy stories with you.
This will be the first, in hopefully a long line, of stories from nursing school to nursing career that I'd like to title: Nurses: the few, the proud, the crazy! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed living them.
First, a little background. When I was in high school, all I could ever think of doing "when I grew up" was to be a veterinarian. There were no other career choices for me. My mind was set and I was determined. I decided to study Biology for my undergraduate degree and go on to vet school from there.
A few short (long as heck!) years later, I had my BS in biology and had been looking closer into veterinary schools. Holy crow, it was an expensive road. The school of my choice was out of state, which made it even more expensive AND harder to get into. So, I decided it best to take a few years off and work.
Let me be the first to say, it's not easy finding a good job with a degree in biology! I actually considered teaching for a time, but when I thought about the public speaking course I would have to take, HECK NO!!! My biggest fear, in the world, public speaking. It's sad that one class made me forfeit a career choice, but I guess everything works out in the end. All of these choices and follies did lead me to nursing.
So, I found a job, certainly nothing that would set my bank account on fire, but it paid the bills and I made a genuine connection with people and felt like I made a difference. Did I use my degree? No, but it was an important step on the path that has lead me to where I am today. I became a certified nurses' aide. What a challenging yet rewarding experience! The best nurses come from humble beginnings.
My first stories are going to come from the archives of my time as a nurses' aide. Wow, so many to choose from, but I think this is one of my favorites.
Henry, as I'll call him here, was a resident of mine who was blind, couldn't walk, spoke German when he was angry and liked to cuss, A LOT! As a matter of fact, the nickname he had given me even had a cussword in it, so I can't even share. Well, maybe I can. He called me a Sh*tbird. I didn't understand at the time, but after doing some research found out the meaning.
- An objectionable, despicable person.
- A person who regularly gets into trouble; a screw-up.
I choose to believe he meant the latter, and in good fun, since he always had a big grin on his face when he used the term. Anyway, that was always my greeting when I entered his room. He always knew I was there, even though he couldn't see me. Was it the sound of my walk, the smell of my shampoo or some other tell that only he could identify? I could never figure it out and he would never clue me in, but he always knew.
One day, Henry was having an exceptionally difficult time getting the cows out of his room. Yes, cows......it was real to him. When I spoke with the nurse about his issue, she said he needed to be reoriented to reality. This is, of course, what was taught in nursing school, but didn't make sense to me. Why upset him further? Why argue that he's not correct? Would it really hurt anything to play along? This was not my area of expertise, so I agreed with her assessment and tried to reorient this man who believed there were cows in his room.
It didn't go well. As I was walking down the hall, I could hear Henry calling from his bed, "Damn cows, get the hell out of here!" God help me, but I couldn't help but chuckle. Once I reached the room and I got my typical greeting, he asked me to help him clear his room so he could finally get some sleep. I tried to explain that there were no cows, his room was empty except for the two of us and that he should really try to get some sleep. He would not be deterred. He started to get irritated with me, which generally never happened. I excused myself for a moment and told him I was going to send the nurse in to help him.
I reported the situation to the nurse and she said she would go speak with him and get him to calm down and go to sleep. Ok, I thought, good luck! I watched her walk down the hall and into his room and wondered if she was really going to pull this off. She was, in my mind, one of the best nurses with whom I had ever worked. So if anyone could do it, she could. Less than five minutes had passed before she emerged from the room and headed back down the hall toward me. She seemed calm, collected and her usual patient self. By golly, I think she's done it!
As she reached the nurses' station, where I was standing, she said very seriously, "Can you please go get those cows out of his room?" And walked away. I had to smile as I stood there, and laughed as I made my way down the hall to Henry's room. Once I got there, I told him I was going to take care of this once and for all. I clapped my hands a few times, said "get out of here" and made a lot of scuffling noise on the floor. He cheered me on from his bed and then I shut the door. "They're finally gone, Henry. I'll keep your door shut so they won't come back and you can get some rest." He thanked me vigorously and tried to grab me for a good night kiss, which I respectfully declined. I left the room, shut the door and he slept soundly the rest of the night.
This was not the first episode of animals or unwanted guests in his room at night and it wouldn't be the last, but after that, they were always handled swiftly and without further incident.
Education can get you a long way in this world, but until you can adapt to uncommon situations and think outside of the box, you'll always be stuck running around an endless track.
I hope you enjoyed my first story. I certainly enjoyed reliving it. Let me know what you think and there will be more to come. Thanks for taking the time to read and hopefully laugh.