The Story of How I Became a Nurse

It was by accident and I mean that literally. I was in my second year of college as a bio/chem premed major when I had an accident in the Organic Chemistry Laboratory. It was late afternoon near the end of October, those Fall days when no one knows how to dress for the weather, very cold in the morning but warm by afternoon. I was about six weeks into refining a chemical substance for identification and had already spent about 24 hours in the lab doing so. With my lab notebook at my side I had documented the entire process down to every last detail. My lab station was always very neat with clean glassware on paper towels drying and other chemicals at the ready.

This one particular afternoon the setting sun came through the lab window at such an angle making us all very warm. Just prior to making some adjustments to my experiment, I fortunately removed my sweater. I poured my substance out of the hot beaker into a test tube and decided that it was still much too cloudy and poured it back into the hot beaker sitting atop the Bunsen burner for additional heating. Doing so caused a loud explosion sending hot, shattered glass everywhere followed by a fireball that rolled up both of my arms taking all the hair with it and settling on my right thumb. I froze as I saw my thumb on fire and burning paper towels float through that air. The student next to me stomped the fire out while I snapped to and blew out my thumb. It was all a matter of a few seconds but to me it was all in fast and slow, choppy, blurry motion. Almost the way a Jason Bourne movie is filmed. It was over for me, I would never recover the lost experiment in time for finals.

During that semester I had helped a hall-mate study for all her clinical exams. She was a nursing student and filled me with fantastical stories of her days in clinical.  I was romanced by her stories and knew it would be years before I ever touched a patient, and here she was helping people presently. After visiting the infirmary to have my thumb bandaged, I marched myself down to the registrar’s office and changed my major to that of my study partner’s- what an ordeal it was, not like today with so many online degrees, options, and online PhD programs.  By the next Fall I was happily with patients and not one of them exploded. This was one time a fireball saved someones life. Mine.

**I specialized in Cardiothoracic Nursing and worked in the MICU at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in NJ. I taught clinical nursing at an LPN college in NC then went on to be a Nurse Specialist in the Pulmonary Rehab unit at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in NC. The most rewarding career outside of the home! Now I practice my nursing skills on my children, husband, family, and friends. They haven’t exploded either. Yet.

Now that you know a little more about me and since this is a food blog, here is my menu for the week.
Pasta Carbonara
Baked Corn Dogs
Frogmore Stew
Hamburgers and Broccoli Slaw
Chicken Ramen Salad

Tomorrow in BRK- French Toast Sticks, a recipe I made up for my children’s lunch box.

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8 Comments

  1. avatar Tonya
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    My story on becoming a nurse was not quite as fascinating and altruistic as yours. I wish it was. I enjoyed reading your entry today. I am always curious why people choose to become an RN. Every story is different and usually involves a life transforming event.

  2. avatar Ingrid
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing! I'd be totally traumatized by that. I don't even mess with our grill because something similar happened to Joe. :(
    ~ingrid

  3. avatar Karen
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    For some reason I thought you were a teacher in a private school. Where'd I get that from? LOL My sister & her husband are RNs and two of their 3 children are currently in school to become RNs. It's a great profession where you get to help people, the money is good and an RN will never be unemployed unless they want to!

  4. avatar Mimi
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    I great story. My mom was an RN, and while I was growing up she took care of our entire neighborhood. Now, my second daughter is applying to nursing colleges, following in her grandmother's foot steps.
    Mimi

  5. avatar Mary
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Oh my gosh!! I have always been scared to death of chemicals – sure glad that didn't turn out worse! Nurses are amazing people.

    Menu sounds great!! Lots of favorites there to love. Have a great week.

  6. avatar Sabrina
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    That is a great story. I had never heard you talk about that. Thanks for always being my 'on call' nurse. It sure is comforting.

  7. avatar meganOD
    Posted 01/25/2010 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    What a great story! I'm currently in my first year of nursing school, and hoping to love the profession as much as you have!

  8. avatar Columbus Foodie
    Posted 01/26/2010 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Awesome story, especially since I'm taking Organic & Biochemistry this quarter as a prerequisite for a program that will allow me to get a second bachelor's degree in nursing and become an RN myself.

    I always second guessed my abilities when it comes to the sciences and chemistry classes have allowed me to not only realize I have a knack for it, but enough of a knack that I'm thinking about down the line going for a masters and becoming a CRNA.

    I always love hearing stories about why other people choose nursing.

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