Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here's a secret: Before I started working as a nurse, I was less than proud of being a nurse. "Congratulations" everyone said as my BSN was conferred with honors. "Woopee" everyone said when I passed my boards and became a bona fide RN. "Well done!" were the exclamations I got after securing a job in ICU as my first nursing job, and I smiled a weak smile. Great, I thought, with chagrin, to each accolade handed my way. That is until I started actually doing my job. Now I love taking care of my people, holding their hands, hugging them, being there when they let go of this world, take their families into my heart. I feel my job in my core, and my patients know it and I think they love me for it.

So I went off the farmers market this morning, tired with the night still on me after working 12 hours, but pleasant in the memory of the job I did. And then I ran into a professor I had in my doctoral program, a very very staid British man. Before I started the doctoral program in English, I was working towards an MAT in teaching elementary education. On a whim, I entered a poetry contest through my university sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. And then I won. This professor called me at home to let me know I won the first prize.

"Get OUT!" I yelled into the phone, a la Elaine Benes. He was taken aback, to be sure.

"No, really. You have won the first prize," he said in his very upper crust grape-in-mouth accent. "And now I must know, who are you?"

I had no way to answer that question other than the poems he had splayed on his desk. I went on to write much more in the doctoral program, entering other contests, winning some, placing in others, but this professor remained a staunch fan of mine, so today when I saw him, he was surprised to see me; he thought I was off somewhere teaching writing, doing poetry.

"Oh, yes. I am definitely going to get back to that now that I am settled in my job. I'm working as a nurse in an ICU," I said, chest puffing out a little with pride.

His face fell. "Oh no," he groaned. "Oh, that's terrible. Just terrible. You aren't writing? You should be writing your poetry." And he went on and on as I stood there, wishing I could pull a prize winning poem out of my pocket, cite some publication from last month. Instead the publication I have is from probably two years ago and a dreadfully woefully neglected skein of poems. He assured me that he encouraged me to forward only because he thought I did have the metier to write, and he wouldn't just tell anyone this. I smiled. After all, it was compliment.

I promised him now that I am settled in my job, I'd write more. I told him I have so many poems in me that the problem would be having the patience to get them out right, an anxious muse has landed next to me, and I think I will start writing again.

I think I'll start here again, this old faithful blog, dusty, but still worthy. Watch this space.

Thanks, Professor B. Thank you ever so much,

P.S. I still am proud about being nurse today. He could only add to my mood, not detract.


Blogger Patti said...

My Mom is in palliative care at the moment. Her nurses are incredible, loving and treat her with the same respect that we, our family, do.

Be proud, Katie. Be very proud.

And thank you from the bottom of my heart.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous calliope said...

OH!!! it's a post from YOU!!!
yes. please do write more.
You have been missed.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Llilith Michelle said...

Both your writing and your nursing care are so nurturing, KT. Please continue on all paths simultaneously... perhaps they will feed and inform each other...

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

You and Kip both have "the writer's gene". You should be very proud that you have so many great talents. Many of us don't have the same to speak of!

7:50 PM  

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