The lights are dimmed, the halls empty. You'd never know that behind each door is a unit full of people. All ages. All sicknesses, all situations. You'd never know that behind many of those quiet doors is a Nurse holding a hand to help get a patient up for the first time, pushing a vital medication through an ever-so-sensitive IV catheter, hanging units of blood, bandaging up wounds, delicately searching for a vein to start an IV for a brand new sick baby, calling physicians in the middle of the night at their homes to update and request new orders, watching a cardiac monitor like a hawk- awaiting the moment to jump to action... the list goes on. You'd never know. It's done in quiet, even in the middle of the night. All is dark and still it seems, but we are fervently working. We know charts inside and out. We must. At any point, all could go bad, and we act. At any point, we are the ones all will look to for information, for a plan. Quick. Responsibility. Such responsibility.
But, it's what we do. Day in and day out. More often than not, all goes well, all runs smoothly, all patients are stable. But, you never know when that moment will come. That moment when all hell breaks loose, that moment when the flood gates open, that moment when it feels like the bus is outside dropping off load after load. You never know when that baby will turn bad, that mom will turn septic, that teenager will code. But we must be ready. All the time. For anything.
To say that working in healthcare is stressful would be an understatement. All jobs carry levels of stress, all different kinds. But these are lives. Literally, lives we are caring for. And, medicine is amazing. Amazing. Sometimes I lose the appreciation or respect for what we do. Sometimes I forget that without it, lives are lost. Without the care we provide, people do die.
While walking through these empty, dark halls last night, all of this was on my mind. All seemed so quiet, so still. But, I know better. I know that behind each of those doors is stress, hard work, potential chaos, and most of all compassion. We do this because we care. We do this because we are passionate about health. We do this because we see the difference it makes. In the midst of long shifts, being on our feet for sometimes the entire night, missing holidays with our own families, maybe not getting to eat, maybe getting yelled at by patients, doctors, other staff members, etc, we do this because we care. I do this because it brings me joy. I do this because I get to use my skills and passions to bless others and tangibly help in one's most vulnerable moments.
The stress is incredible and sometimes exciting. It's also terrifying. Such responsibility. Such potential for things to go wrong at any moment. In any specialty, in any field it exists. Even mom/babe; believe me.
As I recently passed my 2 year mark at work, today I reflect on how grateful I am for my job. I'm thankful for this road and journey that began so long ago. Before I even realized it, God was forming my heart and mind to be where I am. Today I am simply thankful for the opportunities I have day in and day out to both bless and be blessed by others in such a real way. Yes it's hard, yes it's stressful, yes it's physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting; but I'm thankful. And, sometimes I need to dig deep into my heart and remind myself why I do this, and how much I really do love it. I'm reminded; and I'm ready for a restful weekend!