You know the ones where others try to make you feel inadequate.
Inadequate because of your career choice, the amount of money you do or don’t make, the inability to conceive a child, still being single, the parenting choices you make, not being able to do something that someone else can.
And the list goes on.
The list of things that you just, apparently, don’t measure up at. (Insert eye roll and large sigh here.)
So, let me elaborate on why this is an issue, for me, today.
I am a Registered Nurse and one of my jobs is working with special needs and requirements children in their homes.
Today, someone tried to make me feel inadequate because, unbeknownst to me, what I do isn’t “real Nursing” because it’s not in a hospital setting and it’s basically just “babysitting.” (Insert the slap to the face that this statement makes so hard for me to hold back).
Let me set something straight, if I weren’t a “real” nurse then I wouldn’t have the credentials R.N. behind my name that I earned by tireless hours of studying, endless sacrifice, and passing my NCLEX in a total matter of about 30-40 minutes and 75 questions.
Also, let me address this so called “babysitting” job that I do.
Babysitting was the job that I had when I was 15 and there was nothing wrong with it.
Nonetheless, taking care of a special needs child for 8-16 hours a day is NOT, in any form or fashion, being a babysitter.
It IS being a private duty NURSE for a precious child and their family!
My typical day involves doing assessments, vital signs, pain/FLACC scale, changing beds and linens, and bathing these babies. It also involves feeding tubes, tracheostomy and nasotracheal suctioning, bipaps, ventilators, oxygen dependency, manual chest physiotherapy, breathing treatments, dressing changes, seizures, changing trachs, and a variety of many other things that can start/stop/change in a moments notice. The same as any other “real” nurse!
Also, let me mention that us nurses who care for these sweet souls do so for 8-16 hours a day without help from any other medical staff like other nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, or doctors. We have to make clinical Nursing decisions on our own, often without opinions of other medical staff.
Just an example, I had a patients who’s vent heater (the machine that condenses water to provide moisture in the trach line to decreases the risk of a mucus plug forming inside of the trach and blocking the airway) quit one day. Myself and the several other nurses and mom who cared for this patient had to manually swap out condensers (and use our own judgement to decide when it needed changing) for almost a WEEK before we could get another vent heater.
Another thing, the next time you run down to the supply room to grab that extra box of gloves, that sterile suctioning kit, or some sterile water, don’t take it for granted because guess what? Those of us working in the home often run out of or don’t have the necessary supplies or equipment because insurance only pays for so much a month (that’s another soap box that I don’t need to step on today).
I am not downgrading anything a nurse in a hospital does or their care. I am very thankful for each of you. I was one of you at one time and I haven’t forgotten!
However, just because we aren’t in the same setting doesn’t make any of us less of a qualified medical professional so please give us the same gratitude and respect.
I LOVE the type of Nursing I do and I’m thankful the Lord directed me to it. These little angels require special care and it takes special people to provide such care. I am so blessed that I am one of those special people and I will not apologize one time for it!
**a little side note here,
**I am also so blessed and thankful for the parents of these special kids for allowing us into their home, treating us like family, and ALWAYS doing everything in their power for their children and to help us in any way or care that we need assistance with!!
When my job is done for the day and I look at their little faces, the look in their eyes gives me all I need to know that I measure up!
Despite the efforts of others today, I will not feel inadequate because what I do, what makes me happy, and how I live my life matters. It matters to me and to my patients and their families and that is all the validation for my job of choice I need!