Career talk

“Can I get some antibiotic cream from you then?” Chelsea sighed and rolled her eyes. It made me feel like I was the one causing her the inconvenience. I had to remind myself that Chelsea was frustrated with the situation and not me.

“Sure thing. Let’s go up to my office Chelsea and I can give you a supply of salt for your soaks and some ointment.”

I got up and gathered my things as Chelsea did the same. I told Himself that I had to make a trip to the office and would be awhile since I planned on having a shower (finally) and changing my clothes (finally). Himself got up from the chair and sat down, with his financial magazine still in hand, beside the kids as they continued to fish. 

“Ready Chelsea?” I called out to her as I pushed my feet into my soggy sandals.

“Yup,” she responded as she threw her towel around her neck.

Mitch, one of the senior counselors, quickly got up from the dock where he had been tanning and resting after the belly flop competition, and approached me.

“Oh hey, Nurse Anne. I am due for a hepatitis B vaccine. I have the vial stored in the refrigerator. Is there any chance you could give me the shot?”

“By all means, yes. I’m going up to the office right now with Chelsea. Do you want to go and get it and meet me up there?” Mitch hesitated, nervously looked down, blinked several times and licked his lips. 

“Sure. Sure. I will meet you up there.” Mitch agreed.

Chelsea and I tromped up the forested path to the main house. Despite the exercise I quickly chilled in the shadiness with my clinging wet clothes. With each step my sandals squeaked and gushed water. I was really looking forward to a legit shower and some clean and dry clothes. As we climbed the stairwell in the main house I noticed I was leaving a muddy wet trail on the linoleum steps. I felt badly because I knew that some lowly LIT would be sweeping and mopping the steps tomorrow morning…and probably cursing my name!

Once in the office I washed my hands and then I pulled out the bottle of saline that was under the sink. I filled a medication cup with it and gave it to Chelsea.

“Let’s start with a ten minute soak while I get you some ointment.”  Chelsea sat up on the examination table, took the cup and placed it flush on her skin over the piercing. She awkwardly lay down on the table and put her other arm behind her head. 

“So Nurse Anne, when did you decide to become a nurse?” 

“Why do you ask?” I laughed. 

“Well, I’m chilling here for ten minutes and I’m not sure what to do with my life and had never considered nursing until….well…right now!” Chelsea laughed and as she did the medication cup bobbed up and down on her abdomen.

Silver linings
“Well, I guess I can say that it became a serious career consideration when I was visiting my grandmother in the hospital as she was very ill with cancer. She had a student nurse caring for her and suggested I talk to her about the program. So I did and I was intrigued. Seemed like nursing was more than what I had realized. Way more. So I visited a nurse working in an intensive care unit and was inspired by her and her colleagues who seemed to ooze competence and just breeze around sick patients who were surrounded by all these IV pumps and beeping monitors. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever to have such a huge impact on a patient and their family while using the technology and the sciences that I enjoyed, like biology, physiology, anatomy.” I told Chelsea as I squirted some antibacterial ointment into another medication cup and gathered some q tips for her. “I really feel like it was my grandmother’s gift to me before she passed. She set me on my career path with one conversation.” I stopped for a moment as I felt a wave of gratitude and love for my grandmother pass over me. I also felt myself tearing up and waved my hands in front of my eyes in a futile attempt to dry them. “Oh boy Chelsea! I’m getting all sentimental here. Sorry!” I laughed, embarrassed. 

“I’m so sorry about your grandmother.” Chelsea whispered.

“Oh thank you. She was a great lady. I think her little nudge towards nursing was the silver lining there. And now as a nurse, I meet a lot of people on their stormiest, cloudiest day and I try to be their silver lining as I look after them.” I said as I crossed my arms and leaned on the counter, looking at Chelsea. “When people are suffering, I try to be a blessing in scrubs.”

“That’s pretty cool.”

“I think so too. It’s been a great career for me. There are so many possibilities and opportunities for practicing nursing that you can never get bored. This is a perfect example. I’m a camp nurse and my kids get to come to Camp Acorn and enjoy this beautiful spot and all the outdoor adventures a kid could possibly imagine! I’m learning new things, expanding my resume, and my family gets to vacation for free. Everyday is a challenge and another opportunity to change a life, even if it is in a small way.” I smiled.

“I think I’m ready.” Mitch interrupted our conversation as he stepped into the office. He held out the hepatitis vaccine vial to me with a trembling hand. I hesitated for a moment as I looked at him. His forehead was beaded with sweat and the arm pits of his t-shirt were soaked. “I should warn you though. I have a fear of needles.”

And here was another challenge….

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