28 May 2014

The Scrub Life

I never set out to be a CNA. I really wanted to be an archaeologist. That was my first real career aspiration that I ever had. It sort went by the wayside as my years increased, but I will always consider that my first "life goal". Nursing was never on my radar. I have never really liked blood or gore or needles.

When Cecilia was born, that is when I really discovered what I thought I wanted to do: lactation consultant. Until I realized you needed to be a nurse to do that. Then I thought about being a midwife; also requires a bachelor's degree in Nursing (at least). So, I went to college. I attended the local junior college and tried to get into nursing. I took all of the nursing prerequisites, and then some extras, including medical terminology, microbiology (really considered jumping away from nursing after THIS class; it was fascinating!), and statistics. I wanted to be the best of the best- I wanted my nursing school application to stand out. It's not that I really wanted to be a "nurse". I wanted more of a nurse "desk job" where I didn't really have a lot of exposure to blood, guts, and gore. The nursing home wasn't even on my radar, except that faint little line that asked if I had any CNA experience; that was going to be a problem.

When my applications for nursing school were rejected, I focused on becoming a CNA. I figured that THEN, maybe, my applications would be accepted. I just needed a little bit of experience. When Isaias was 5 months old, my parents helped me spring for CNA school. I almost didn't finish; Hector and I were having problems and my post-partum depression was eating my alive. My dad had just gotten out of a rehab facility, and it was all a lot for me to process. My CNA instructor told me to come back when I was more put together; I finished the class and clinicals, just barely. On my last day of clinicals, Hector was arrested.

I dove into work. I put my CNA boards off for a couple of months. I cleared my head. I figured it all out. I took the boards in July, license was approved in September of 2011. I was working in an assisted living home; not a CNA job, but it wasn't bad. I worked there through the winter until March, when I took another CNA class. I needed to do something with my license. A month later, I was working at my current job.

I never really stayed in one job long enough to find my place where I fit in like I have at this current job. I have made friends, learned about being a CNA, been mentored and have been a mentor. I have worked every shift, worked doubles, worked my days off, had favorite patients, watched my favorite patients pass on and watched my favorite patients go home. I have seen staffing shortages, dealt with state inspections, and I learned to control my emotions and thoughts. I also learned to grow a backbone, to stand up for myself, to not let myself get walked all over and treated like garbage. It was at this current job I learned to use my voice. I never saw myself working in geriatrics. Now I cannot see myself working anywhere else. There is nothing like helping those who cannot help themselves. There is so much to learn. I have learned patience and how to recognize the dignity of Jesus in everyone, even those I don't like so well. I have learned to work with people I don't like so well. I think I've handled it well.

Today I am putting in my notice. I am sad to leave my patients. I have spent 2 years of my life caring for them day in and day out. I know their routines, how they like their coffee, their names, their kids' names, their favorite colors. I know these people like they were my own family; some of them have become family. I am going to miss getting up and putting my scrubs on. I never meant to find myself working as a CNA, but I think I was called to work there. I have a place where I belong there. I just hope I can find the same wherever I may end up.

And yes, I have learned to love wound care and guts, but no one better puke on me!