Misuse of Resources
I often speak passionately to others about my calling. But this weekend, while I was visiting extended family and friends, I was somewhat deflated by their questions about my career. "Why aren't you going to medical school?" they'd ask.
I made a bunch of standard arguments, mostly centered around the saying "Doctors cure but nurses care". I explained that my desire is to work with people holistically and individually. I want to be present. And I am far more interested in the human elements of health care than the scientific ones. While doctors can do those things, nursing just feels like the best fit.
But none of these arguments seemed to phase them. They couldn't grasp why I'd become a nurse instead of a doctor when I was obviously bright enough to be the latter. They cited a myriad of reasons it would be better for me--most of which boiled down to a supposedly "superior lifestyle". But the one thing that really stuck with me was the phrase "Just wait, you will always be subject to people who are less than you."
I can't help but be upset by the entire perspective. It feels wrong on so many levels.
For one, I don't think a "smart person" going into nursing should be seen as a waste! If I succeed--and I plan to--it will only do credit to the profession, not discredit me. For another, I don't think money is a good reason to choose any career. And perhaps I am naive, but I haven't exactly found nurses to be totally subject to doctors. Nurses seek to be collaborators in patient care; this is the meaning of professionalism. True, some physicians still try to walk all over supportive staff. But people who work in hospitals know it's far less challenging to work with doctors than it is to work with patients! "Subject to those less than you"? Obviously! (Just not how you'd think!)
It's very discouraging to be told that you are, in essence, misapplying your potential. But the thing I think others are overlooking is the fact that my gifts aren't limited to the deduction logical puzzles or the intuitive grasp of certain subjects. So what if I took a test when I was a child that indicated I had some above-average abilities? I have developed others as an adult that are far more important to a meaningful life. They're the more immeasurable qualities of the heart... they compel me to extend my hand to strangers and to listen with compassion. I may not always succeed, but I am a person who is not only able, but willing!
Surely that means more than the money I could have made or the power I could have held. It's not a lack of ambition that set me on this path. It's because I feel like if I place more value on relationships than the other factors, I can't really go wrong. I will have enough money and responsibility. But I will have an abundance of friendship and respect.
Again, it is totally possible for doctors to be and do all the things I describe in addition to their regular jobs. But for nurses, that thing is their job. I watch them while I work. I see what each professional does. And I don't regret my choice, not even a little. Because I know who and what I am.