Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Before I started this stay-at-home-mom gig, I worked for 7 years as an RN on a cardiac unit. When I first began, I discovered pretty quickly that no school can teach you everything you need to know before entering the real world of bedside nursing in an acute setting. Much of it is learned on the job. This includes learning how to think critically, how to help patients and families through bad news, how to deal with difficult and violent people, how to thicken your skin against condescending physicians, and how to overcome the fear of having to irritate a sleeping doctor at 2am so your patient can get the care they require. You can’t teach that in school. Facing the unpredictable moods of physicians was a tough one for me when I was first starting. At that time, at 22 years old, I was a conflict-avoiding person who sought everyone’s approval. When nurses first start, we begin on orientation, which means following a nurse, taking on their patients, and providing care under the nurse’s supervision and guidance. I followed a lovely nurse named Tamara when I started night-shift orientation. Tamara is one of the sweetest people I have ever met, but she is also one of the fiercest. She would go to bat for her patients regardless of the cost.
(And let me just say, I don’t mean to portray doctors in a bad way. But in the nature of our jobs, nurses and doctors are a bit like frenemies: allies who sometimes have to force themselves to remember that the other person is on their side. Nurses are the ones who see everything. We are living next to the patient. The doctors typically have a visit or two with the patient each day, so they have to rely a lot on nurses’ judgments and interpretations of how their patient is doing. They are forced to trust us. When we call them, we have to be concise with our descriptions and yet detailed, painting a picture of what we see in order to get orders from the physician or to seek their advice. If they feel us wavering, nervous, or unable to answer all their questions, their trust diminishes and they get irritated because they have to give medical orders based off of what we say. This, in their minds, potentially puts their patients and themselves at risk. They have to give orders based off of an assessment done by a nurse who they may or may not know. I think I’d be cranky sometimes, too.)
Calling a doctor at night, knowing you are going to be waking them, and knowing they have a history of taking their frustrations out on the nurses… well it’s not exactly fun, and as a new-hire/new-grad, it was terrifying.
When I was orienting, Tamara would push me to be the one to call the doctors so I would be prepared to do so when I was on my own. She would sit close next to me, trying to listen, while pointing to notes and reminding me to make sure to tell the doctor all of the important details. It was still scary facing the doctor on the other end of the phone, but it was nice knowing she was there giving me confidence to tell the doctor what I wanted. There was one night that one of our patients was having some troubles, so I called the doctor. This doctor was notorious for toying with new nurses, and he was not exactly kind to me after sensing my newbie status. I got off the phone trying to fight back tears, but Tamara and another nurse got on the phone and spoke to him, defending me and my decisions for the patient. At the time, I felt pretty sheepish for needing people to defend me, but ultimately, I was reminded that when I get off orientation, I would not be on my own. I’d have wonderful co-workers who’d have my back and who would help guide me on important decisions. And it was true, I am so grateful for the amazing co-workers I had when I was there. I overcame the fear of talking to doctors and gained their respect. And I was able to pass on some tips to some new nurses I oriented. But I will never forget the commardardie shown to me that night. And even up until my last day, my co-workers and I consulted each other, asking each other’s opinions on important decisions for the patients, supporting each other along the way. Noone was ever on their own.
The world is imperfect and scary at times. We come across challenges and decisions that overwhelm us and give us anxiety. But just as I was not alone at my job, neither are we in our everyday struggles.
19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. Matthew 10:19-20 (NASB)
When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 1 Corinthians 2:13
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. John 16:13
The Holy Spirit is a bit like a good nursing orienter/trainer. It gives us the words we’re lacking, helps us function when we’re too freaked out to act, helps us understand what we’re being taught, and is a constant comrade, guiding and supporting us. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, he didn’t leave his followers empty-handed. The disciples may have been “off-orientation,” but Jesus gifted them (and us) with the Holy Spirit to be with them in his stead as a constant companion. You are not alone.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16-17
Through his Holy Spirit, God is always with you. You always have his promptings, his guidance, his teachings, and his words. Call on the Holy Spirit, welcome it into your life, and you will have a supportive friend with you at all times.
Ashlee is a wife and SAHM, an eager follower of Jesus, and a chronically loud-laugher. She loves finding new ways to look at the Bible, in hopes to grow closer to Jesus and to find fresh ways to learn and teach others.
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