Ups, Downs and Hospital Gowns
Written by Anna Palmer // Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
It’s 5:15am. My iPhone starts buzzing, and proceeds with its annoying pre-set alarm from the bedside table next to me. I hit the snooze button once, lazily rolling my eyes back into my head, grasping at those last few precious moments before forcing myself up and flipping on the lights (that will proceed to momentarily blind me.) 5:20 rolls around, and one last alarm blares next to my head; a not-so-gentle reminder that it really is time to pull my legs over the side of the bed and somehow make it to the coffee pot. Still sleep-walking, I pull on my forest green scrubs that were clearly not made for a girl with wide hips. As I stare at myself in the mirror and undergo several attempts to cover the pesky pimples on the side of my face, I am reminded of just how truly unflattering my nursing school uniform is on my nonproportional body. After a final attempt to transform my under eye bags and pale face, I grab my coffee mug and head out the door, toward a world of sick people waiting for me to take care of them.
Spoiler alert: this is not a story about an entrepreneurial Babe who used a creative outlet to start a company, nor a story about losing a job and bouncing back. I am not a business owner, a creative artist or a world-class photographer, but I am a Babe who hustles every single day – studying for and working hard at an occupation that many would not dare to even try.
I have always hoped to one day make a large impact on society, but I never really knew how I'd do so - until I started nursing school. I’ve always enjoyed being “the caretaker,” whether for my grandparents, sister, friends, or teammates, and have always found great joy in knowing that I helped make their days a little brighter.
What I could never have anticipated is the strength and perseverance it takes to listen to three-hour lectures each day, rely on 3-4 hours of sleep most nights, and essentially sacrifice the “college experience” that most of my peers seem to enjoy. I do not work in an overwhelmingly creative environment or spend much time on conference calls, but in-between rushing to class and spending hours upon hours studying for exams, I am changing diapers on old, incompetent men who cannot change themselves, and holding the emesis basin for the chemo patient who is puking their brains out in the next room over.
I also get to hold the hand of the patient who has just been informed she’s in remission, and brush the hair of a homeless woman who may not have had a bath in months. Coming home from a grueling twelve-hour shift is never easy, but I would not trade my urine-stained shoes or hospital-scented scrubs for anything in the world.
On the days when my alarm constantly pesters me to emerge from my Tempurpedic mattress because my patients are waiting for me on a far less comfortable one, not a second passes that I wish I had chosen another major or followed my dad’s footsteps of attending business school. I know that each time my alarm goes off at 5:15am, I will proceed to spend my day at a job that I love; a job that constantly rewards me with warm smiles and “thank you’s” from patients – who just thirty minutes ago – were crying out in agony.
I may not have the most glamorous job in the world, but I am a Babe who hustles so that at the end of the day, I can reset my alarm for tomorrow confidently, knowing that I have made at least one person’s day just a little bit better.
Anna is currently a BSN Nursing student at Jacksonville University. Originally from Upstate New York, she's a true Rochesterian at heart who has grown to love the Jacksonville area that she now calls home. Her passions include sailing, traveling, Thai food, blogging, and cats. When she's not in the library studying for her next exam, you can find her cuddling her apartment cat, Pickle, or trying new recipes in the kitchen.