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When I was nine years old I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I announced to the room of family members that I would indeed one day take care of soldiers. I had just read a book about Clara Barton, a nurse who organized The American Red Cross. She nursed soldiers to health, or eased their deaths. Never did I say, "I want to be a lactation consultant and help women breastfeed when I become a nurse". This is an important fact.
When I was twenty years old, I graduated nursing school. I thought I had cornered the market on healing the sick and raising the dead when I hit the floor of my first nursing position. It took me all of one hour as a nurse to realize I was not going to do either of those. I was sent to take an elderly man's vital signs. I thought, "no problem... I'm a nurse". When I entered the room I noticed his breathing was very labored and even wrote it down in my handy, dandy spiral note pad. I then proceeded to take his blood pressure. I listened intently while I observed the numbers on the wall monitor go down, down, down.... I tried a second and a third attempt only to hear...nothing. The nurse who was to later train me and had sent me into the room for vital signs, walked into the room and said, "honey, I think he is gone". I said, "he wasn't a minute ago" only to look at him and see a dusky hue to his skin. It was then that I noticed his earlier labored breathing was now non-existent. I burst into tears. I wasn't crying because a husband, father, son, uncle, brother, etc. had passed away. I cried because I was a horrible nurse and I had only taken care of one patient and I failed miserable at that! I found out after-the-fact that the gentleman had suffered a long, terminal illness. He wasn't expected to make it through the day. I would have appreciated that information prior to entering his hospital room. That is how life has taught me my most valuable lessons - failure of some sort. Again, an important fact.