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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Being a nurse...

This week is Nurse’s week. Celebrating a career that is unique in so many ways. I remember it was midway through my freshman year that I shifted the course of my educational pathway. I had grown up wanting to be a doctor that delivers babies. I went to the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med major. Then I took my first biology class- Holy cow! I changed my major to Nursing. Life has never been the same. I remember my first clinical rotation was in an acute rehab place (basically the middle place between hospital and a nursing home). I already had some PTSD with nursing homes from being a young child and visiting my great-grandmother in one. Well, my first clinical day, I walked in and met my first patient and her diagnosis was “Dumping syndrome”, aka “explosive diarrhea as soon as I eat anything”. Literally, she had to sit on the bedside commode while she ate. Sadly, I had to stand in the corner and literally dry-heaved the entire time. I had to go get two of my friends and my instructor to help me clean her up because I couldn’t stop gagging. I went home that evening and called my mother. I am pretty sure I told her that I was never going back. I was not cut out to be a nurse, there was NO WAY I could do that the rest of my life. No amount of money in the world is worth that. Fortunately, I changed my mind and went back. I drudged through the awful two years of nursing school and adult medicine. As a side note, if it weren’t for pediatrics, I would be working at Target. In fact, anywhere other than in adult medicine. Sorry people, big people are just gross and most of them are flat out rude! My first interaction in pediatrics was during my senior year in college. I got to go to the Children’s Hospital in Austin for a semester. It was then that it clicked. My last rotation I requested the pediatric ICU and got selected. I was so excited. I remember being drawn to this area of medicine. Having to be quick in my thinking, actions; all the while keeping my emotions in check. I remember the first time I witnessed a baby dying. Oh my, my heart was broken. It just hurt. I remember the parents playing this song over and over again until she passed. I will never forget that moment. Jesus was there. That was one of the most crucial moments that forever left an imprint on my heart for this career path. I graduated and went on to work at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas in the Cardiac ICU. Here is where I fell deeply in love with these babies. What amazing strength I saw in the lives of these precious littles. I was pushed beyond the limits of what I ever thought I could handle mentally, physically, and emotionally. I witnessed more miracles in life and death than I could’ve ever imagined. I experienced heartache, yet there was an indescribable peace that came only from God. Now that I am a nurse practitioner, my role looks different than it did as a bedside nurse. I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I wouldn’t be doing anything else. I get to go to work every day to help others. To make a difference in the lives of precious children and their families that loves them so much. I get to help people go through the highs and lows of their journey. I have the privilege of holding their hand along the way. I can't promise them how it will all turn out, but I can walk alongside them through it.  As a nurse, I have… * witnessed a baby taking its first breath, and I have witness many taking their last. * laughed and played with children, I have cried while holding their fingers and toes. * prayed over their sweet bodies to be healed. * worked countless hours trying to save the life of someone’s daughter or son * missed many lunches or gone all day without going to the restroom because my patient was too sick to leave * Performed life-saving measures on countless children, some have walked out of the hospital and some have died in my hands. * carried someone’s child to the morgue to leave until the funeral home comes to get the body * cheered on, encouraged, cried with and prayed with families of these children * seen many children grow up to be active and playful school aged kids, ones I never thought would make it until the next day Being a nurse is not all fun and games. Its life and death. I can’t describe to you the amazing experiences I have had as a nurse. So many people will say “I don’t know how you do what you do”. To them, I say that I couldn’t do anything else. But believe me, there are many days I think the same thing. I have to pray for the strength to tell a mother that her unborn child has a major heart problem. I have to sit down at times and take a deep breath before I tell a parent that I don’t think there’s anything else we can do for their child. So many times I have to hold back the tears. It is usually in the car on the way home that it all comes out. But, God has taught me more about life and His love through these experiences over the last 12 years. I would not take one second back. I get to live out my faith every single day at my job. I have seen God’s sovereignty every step of the way. He has orchestrated so many events that I could not have planned better myself. I have met some of the most amazing people who unfortunately are in the worst time of their lives. There are so many children that I will never forget. I will never forget their names, their sweet faces. Their sweet momma and daddy that never left their bedside. Even better is when they do make it out of the hospital and I see them every few months in our office. I can hug them. I can give them high-fives and kiss their cheeks and tell them how precious they are. I can tell them what a miracle they are. I want to thank them and make sure they know how much of an impact they have had on my life.  There will always be painful times in this journey, but the Lord has been faithful every step of the way. Where He leads, I will continue to follow. He led me to this road. What an honor it is to be on this journey. I am thankful for all my peers who have chosen the same career path. You are all amazing people and are doing amazing work. Be encouraged. You are making a difference. It is through you that the Lord is completing His will in the lives of so many. What a privilege it is to be called a NURSE. This week I celebrate my job and all of my colleagues. We get the opportunity to change the world, one patient at a time. Don’t take that lightly. Be the one that makes a difference today!

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