On August 4th this year I celebrated my 14th year of Nursing! I use August 4th as the date for my Nursiversary because it was my very first day of work as RN! Do you remember your very first day of your career? I couldn’t sleep the night before from excitement and nervousness. I only knew the name of the nurse that was precepting me, where to go, and what time to be there. When I got to the unit someone helped me obtain a pair of blue scrubs, little did I know, this was the beginning of a journey that would change my life. I walked out onto the unit, eager, smiling, and so excited I could pop! I couldn’t find my preceptor and then I was told by someone to join her in room 4. When I walked in the patient was crying and screaming at the nurse (my preceptor) and asking her to let her die as they were bathing her wounds. The patient had lost her left arm at the time and had multiple traumas in addition to her burns. My preceptor smiled and said “welcome, jump in and get ready to go”. The rest of that day is a blur now, but I do remember feeling like I was living a dream. Every time someone called me a Nurse or I had to write Amber Thompson, RN – I couldn’t believe it. Every time I gave a medicine I kept thinking “am I going to get in trouble for this”. When someone needed to know who the “nurse” was for one of my patients it took forever for me to get used to saying “I’m the nurse”. I just really couldn’t believe that I made it into the profession that I wanted to be part of so badly. I was told by so many people that I would not graduate nursing school, that I should learn a skilled trade, that I wasn’t college material and so on. There was always a small part of me that feared those people would be right. There was a bigger part of me though that wanted to prove them wrong.
I am grateful for the past 14 years of an amazing career that is known as the most trusted profession. I have come full circle from where I started and burn nursing will always be in my blood. I have loved every job that I have had. Each job was a blessing and I was placed there for a specific reason. As a new grad starting in the burn center was one of the best decisions I ever made. It laid a foundation that allowed me to go any direction I chose to go as a Nurse. After several different stops along my nursing path, I now find myself back where I started. I am still eager, and excited to start each day…..it just takes A LOT more coffee than it used to!!
A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends (Meredith Mitchell) husbands (Buddy Mitchell) and I were talking and he said “there is a reason why your rear-view mirror is so small and your windshield is so big-what is behind you is the past and you don’t need to be looking for anything there, but what’s in front of you, the windshield (the future) is wide open and ready for you to see and go towards it.
Anniversaries, Nursiversaries, and Birthdays (just celebrated my 37th :/) are all excellent times to look back and look forward. Look back through the review over the past year of your life, your career, or your marriage…….how was it? Some of you may say “It could of been better” or some may say “It was wonderful”. No matter what your thoughts are about the past year you now have the next year to look forward to. So think about the windshield in front of you…..What would you do differently? DO IT! What do you wish would get better? How can you make things better for yourself and others in the upcoming year? Be sure to be looking through the windshield, if you are only looking in the rear-view you will miss what is right in front of you!
I tell my kids (and I used to tell my students when I was teaching) “You are responsible for YOU”! For the past 10-12 years I have been saying “I really need to go back to school”. I guess I was waiting for someone to do it for me!!! I am finally returning!!! I don’t want to celebrate my next Nursiversary without any professional growth, or personal growth. I am responsible for me. If your career or marriage or both are not where you want them to be, take time to reflect inwardly and work to improve on your shortcomings (we all have them). Most of the time it is our attitude, lack of commitment, lack of gratitude, and/or lack of motivation. Don’t blame your boss, your spouse, your kids, your parents, or anyone else because you aren’t where you want to be. Like George Elliott said “It’s never too late to become what you might have been”. That can apply to any aspect of your life, career, marriage, parenting, or friendship.
I am so grateful to be looking through a windshield full of opportunity and growth while learning from the mistakes in my rear-view mirror.