Why I am a Nurse

Erin Azuse has been a Registered Nurse for 15 years, working primarily in the fields of NICU and Pediatrics. She is excited to enter a new phase in her career combining her science and medical background with her love of writing.

When I was growing up, I always thought I wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. I was Biology major in college, and one summer, I spent some time volunteering in a local Emergency Room. As witness to a typical day in the ER, the nurses that I observed quickly blew me away. Not only did they have amazing medical knowledge and technical skills, but I also loved watching their interactions with the patients and their families. They were the voice of calm in a chaotic environment, they were teachers, and they were advocates.

My career focus suddenly shifted.

I did graduate with my Biology degree, but then I entered an accelerated nursing program and received a second Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 15 months. Now, with almost 15 years of nursing under my belt, I feel compelled to share what makes this field so special.

I am an integral part of the medical field. I have always had a huge interest in science and the human body. (Hence, the original Biology major.) Through nursing school and my time on the job, I have learned so much about the amazing intricacies of our bodies- from how a baby develops in the womb, to how a certain medicine can cause a desired effect, to how the right environment can promote healing. I get to help make these things happen through the care and education I provide to my patients.

Secondly, I know what it means to be part of a team. Doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, chaplains, etc.- we all combine our strengths and skills to create the best plan of action for our patients. My input is appreciated and respected, and on more than one occasion, I have had a new resident ask me how I would handle a certain situation. The teamwork that nurses also provide one another is unmatched. Any nurse who has handled a crazy admission or emergency circumstance will tell you that he or she would not have been able to handle it without the help of his or her coworkers. Nurses know what a hard and important job we have, and we will always assist one another in our moments of need.

In a time of uncertainty and recession, I am part of a profession that is in need. Between the baby boomers getting older, a large number of nurses reaching retirement age, and the changes in healthcare reform, nurses are going to continue to be in demand. Who doesn’t want job security?

Plus, I love that there are so many avenues to explore in nursing. From a young single girl living in a large city to a married mother in the suburbs, I have always found the right nursing job to match with what worked best for me in my life at that time. I have worked all shifts. I have worked full time and part time. I have worked in a nationally recognized teaching hospital, an office and in a school. I feel so lucky to have found a career that I can always balance with my needs.

Lastly and most importantly, I have made life-changing connections with my patients and their families. I always knew I wanted to work in a career where I helped people. I didn’t understand the implications of this until I took care of my first critically ill newborn in the NICU in my very first nursing job. He was my only patient, and I spent my whole 12-hour shift trying to keep that precious baby alive. Meanwhile, I was the one constant presence at his bedside, along with his parents. In between blood transfusions, medication administration, ventilator changes, I tried my best to keep his parents informed of what was happening and help them feel connected to their baby. Thankfully, after a few days, his condition improved, and I continued to care for him during the remainder of his hospital stay. A few weeks later, I was able to discharge a healthy baby boy to his parents. His mother gave me a card with a lovely handwritten note as they were leaving, expressing her gratitude for the care I provided not only for her baby, but also for her and her husband during such a scary time. She said that I would always hold a special place in their hearts. At that exact moment, I knew I had found my calling.

Don’t you want to be a nurse too?

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