Why I'm So Proud To Be 'Just A Nurse'

"I've learned some other valuable things about life and nursing in the past two years."

A few days ago someone in nursing school told me they'd never stay "just a nurse," and that they would 100 percent go on to get their nurse practitioner degree.



Then, I got in my car today and saw this picture.

Courtesy of Tiffani Ellington Harpole
Courtesy of Tiffani Ellington Harpole

I used to have that mentality. In the picture on the left, I was excited, finishing school, ready to take on the world of nursing. I was a little bit prideful, and if anyone asked me what my plans were, I was pretty quick to tell them I wasn't going to be "just a nurse." 

Now here I am, almost two years later, and I think I'm starting to understand what it means to be "just a nurse." 

I really don't ever sleep. Hair and makeup being fixed is a thing of the past. I'm up all night while the rest of the world is sleeping. I am gone three out of seven nights from home even though I'm newly married (which makes me feel like a great wife ... ) and I'm not allowed to get my nails done. 

OK, so maybe those things are just called being an adult, but the girl on the left wasn't ready for it! Real life hit me like a ton of bricks.

Courtesy of Tiffani Ellington Harpole
Courtesy of Tiffani Ellington Harpole

However, I've learned some other valuable things about life and nursing in the past two years as well.

1. I am not too good to care for you, no matter your background.

2. I will not judge you for what you did while or before you were pregnant, I will care for you and love you like Jesus does. 

3. I am not above cleaning up your blood that gravity so lovingly pulls to the floor the first time you stand up after delivery. 

4. If you can't sleep, I'll talk with you as long as you need me to. Even if it's midnight and I haven't charted the first thing.

5. I will cry with you when your baby gets transferred to the NICU, when they can't figure out what's going on with your child, and when your pain seems too much to bear.

6. I will call the doctor for you at 3:30 a.m., even if my insides are shaking because I've already had to call and wake them up twice. 

7. I will be your hairstylist, your waitress, your babysitter, your janitor, your advocate, and your best friend if you'll let me.

I am still a baby nurse. I learn new things every day. I may go on to get my nurse practitioner one day. Who knows! But one thing I know for sure is that it's pretty dang cool to be "just a nurse."

Cover image courtesy of Tiffani Ellington Harpole

This story originally appeared on Tiffani Ellington Harpole's Facebook page. Harpole graduated from nursing school in December 2015 from Campbellsville University with her ADN and finished her BSN from the university in May 2017. She has been with her husband Ryan since they were teenagers and tied the knot last July. Harpole was inspired to become a nurse after Ryan was in the hospital after becoming sick with the flu, pneumonia, and MRSA. Being around his nurses made her want to do what they do. She is now a maternal child and pediatric nurse. 

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