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The right path

By: Jessica Turnitza

“If you know, you know”, a quote that still rings true, to this same girl who idealized the vision of becoming a nurse at the age of 6. I recall watching my mom prance out the door in the wee hours of the morning, somehow balancing children at home and the lives of many at work. I had a tiny glimpse of my mom’s life as a nurse. She would brightly tell tales of her oncology patients. Yes, she could go on for days, while I could sit on the couch next to her enthralled by her descriptions, accounts, and her true strength in providing treatment to some of the most immuno-compromised patients.

Today, she’s on the front of lines of the pandemic, as a school nurse, cautioning each workday, every time she would wake up. “How many potential COVID patients might I see today? Are we thinking symptomatic or asymptomatic”, I can envision her thinking. Little did I know, the many stories I would eagerly sit through and hear, would not account to the many untold stories that my mom, and the other thousands of nurses continue to face every day. Their combination of grit and grace, throughout the trials and tribulations of this pandemic, urged me to continue onto this precarious path… otherwise, called nursing.
The stories, the images, do not comprehensively capture the essence of nursing. It’s more than the adorable scrubs. It’s more than simply “caring” for patients. Today, it’s putting your life on the line, entering a patient’s room with COVID.

Questions once considered “strange”, are now considered to be part of a typical nurse’s thought process– Did their test come back positive or negative? How symptomatic are they, are they showing symptoms? Do we even know? Up until this, working on a partial med surg/covid floor, everything I thought I knew encompassed the title of BSN, RN would surmount to much, much more. During clinical, I had to watch the unfolding, unfortunate experience of a patient desaturating– standing outside the room of course, due to precautions. The way the nurses and health care team fled into the room as if they were a flock of seagulls, utterly amazed me. Though I could not necessarily see their faces too well, I empathized with them. I pictured the amount of sweat gathered under their surgical masks, plus their N95—oh, in addition to their flimsy face shield. It’s this: a group of normal people coming together, to do the unthinkable. This is the pandemic. It’s the moment before a nurse enters a COVID patient’s room, scrounging around for usable and functional PPE. It’s potentially sharing a patient’s last breath as a nurse, but you are equally substituting as the patient’s family.. given visitors are prohibited.
I have always had this feeling within me, somewhere deep within my left ven

tricle that nursing was indeed the career for me. However, witnessing and being surrounded by the superheroes in scrubs on a daily basis solidify that nursing is for me. If you know, you know. I have no doubt that this is the career of my dreams, and the path of my choosing.

Thank you nurses.

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