Window on the world column | Best Nurse Ever – The King City Rustler

From an early age, my little girl had talked about becoming a nurse. When her aunt suggested that maybe veterinary school might be more up her alley, she replied that she could never work with animals; she loved them too much.

It was shortly after graduating from high school that she began to become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). She did her internship and training at the Eden Valley Care Center in Soledad and there began her journey into the medical world. She also graduated as a medical assistant and took EMT (emergency medical technician) courses, but she didn’t particularly care about the paperwork of medical assistance or the madness of riding in ambulances for EMT or waiting for jobs (she gets very car sick, like her mom).

No, she wanted to be in the field, in the nursing trenches. She realized this quite early in her medical adventures.

His first real job was in a rehabilitation/hospice organization near Morgan Hill. She commuted from Soledad the longest, then got herself a little studio in Salinas to make the commute more bearable.

I always remember her talking about an ALS patient who was very difficult with the nursing staff. She told me they were both bound by horses, I believe, and he wasn’t hard on her. This poor guy was never going to be able to leave the rehab center and, of course, he died on his watch. Robert, his name was. Why on earth would I remember that. Well, she treated the person, and it was a person, not defined by their disease. So he was Robert.

She was very pragmatic about death. “He couldn’t go on living like this, could he?” she said of Robert. And I remember this same pragmatism when my sister died of cancer. “Well, you wouldn’t want her to go on living like this, would you?” She was in pain! Her attitude towards death was as solid as you’d want it to be for someone who was going to encounter her a lot in her short years. I remember her anger, however, when she had to sit on patients watching for suicide. She had no time for self-indulgence, as she saw. (“Don’t they think of their family?” she said more than once.)

As rents rose, she found herself unable to continue living on her own, so she returned home and got a job at the county hospital. She loved this work with all its madness and learned so much from it. His favorite departments were the emergency room and the medical-surgical department. She liked to be where the action was and where she felt she could make the most difference. From there, she began working in the medical division of the county jail, and again enjoyed getting her hands dirty and being part of an important system that others might avoid. No, not my daughter – she didn’t hesitate in anything.

Over time, she wanted to get away from her parents and the place she grew up, and she moved to San Luis Obispo County, where she got a job at the county hospital. It was a crazy physical position, but she was still able to do the work and go to school for her prerequisites for the LVN program. Although some of the classes were tedious and unrelated to nursing, she persevered, never admitting defeat when she failed and always picking up some air when life tried to knock her down. She returned to the area and resumed her post at the prison.

The horrific car accident that broke her back, but not her mind, added an extra burden to her efforts, as she was still trying to work and go to school at the same time; but now she was physically injured and unable to do the work she loved. She had to take a break and not work, as she focused on her recovery and the LVN program she enrolled in before the accident.

While people were advising her not to go to the nursing program until she was fully recovered, she didn’t care, knowing she had to get through this and do it. “I’m going to be a veteran before I’m a registered nurse,” she heard. I reminded her that she was only 20 and there was still plenty of time, but not in her mind.

And here we are. It’s finals week for the LVN, class of 2022. She’s got her cap and dress and white scrubs on. Her cap top reads, appropriately, “She believed she could, so she did!” It sounds easy; but not if you know what she went through to get here. His family too.

I (sort of) joked with my dad that I deserved my own cap and dress this time around, and it’s truly been a marathon of emotions and pride watching my daughter go through adversity and come out smiling on the other side. Of course, after the finals, she still has to apply and pass her state exam, but I’m sure after everything she’s been through, she’ll be well prepared for this.

First, it will be time for the great nights of sleep and relaxation, the odd fishing and camping trip, I’m sure…no more time to reflect on all she’s accomplished. I act like I expect her to make her final this week – and, yes, I do. She studied diligently, attended all of her classes, passed all of her quizzes, and here we are, poised and ready to take the next step in her nursing journey. At her graduation on September 8, our family will be proud in Cupertino, where the ceremony will take place, and I’m sure I’ll cry very proud mom tears.

“I have to go on and do my RN,” she said with big dark circles around her eyes. “What is the urgency? ” I ask him. “Why don’t you work a little and live a little more. The RN will still be there when you are ready to study again. Whatever nurse title you have in your pocket, you will be the best nurse ever! And I meant it. All her medical and life experiences have led her to this gateway to a new world, full of opportunities.

We give our children wings so they can fly. I think she will be able to fly pretty high from now on.

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