Nine years ago I felt the Lord stirring my heart. I continually said, “I know He wants me to do something that I’m not doing right now. I just don’t know what it is.” For some reason, I visited the OU College of Nursing website and printed some information on the program. One day at work I told my Dad, “I think God may be calling me to be a nurse.” My Dad’s response was, “Why would He do that?” I had a great set up. I never had to leave Brooklyn who was three and Jaron who was just three months; I either took them to work with me, or worked after they went to bed. I had fabulous benefits, a secure income and flexibility. What more could I ask for? But there was a lot to ask, because life would drastically change in the next year a half. My Dad died suddenly on the morning of August 29th 2005. At the time, I was in the burn center recovering from another round of releases and skin grafts. That night, I lay in my hospital bed and I said, “I’m going to nursing school.”
I could have never anticipated everything the Lord had in store for me when I finally had the opportunity to begin that journey in the fall of 2010. I only applied to one program and that was none other than the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. I’ll never forget getting my letter in the mail April of 2010. I waited for my husband to get home, which added to my Mom’s anxiety. We all sat in our living room and I gave Brooklyn the envelope and asked her to open it and read it. She was 9 years old. Brooklyn started at the very top, “Heather Renee Meadows 37531 East…” We all interrupted her and told her to skip down a little. After she read, “we are pleased to inform you,” that was it. We all erupted in cries of celebration.
That summer of 2010, my dear friend Heather and I rode to the school and tried on scrubs. We had a glorious time. Then when classes began, it was nothing less than a whirlwind. Those two years in that program were some of the best in my life, but the hardest, most challenging too. I never spent a day there that I didn’t feel privileged to be a part of it all.
My very first day of class I met a woman who had a contagious enthusiasm for nursing. She intimidated me, but intrigued me. She challenged me, but cheered for me. She was the champion of her students. Our time together in Clinical I and II set an unshakeable foundation for me and an unwavering passion for this profession of nursing. On graduation she gave us a key chain that had a phrase she spoke into us every moment she could. It said, “Remember, You Need a Nurse to Save Your Life! Love Mrs. B-Dub”
A year ago, I had the honor to receive my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma. My entire family worked for that accomplishment and they carry pride in what I do with my life each day I go to work. My inspiration comes from so many. Like my nurse Lois, who cared for me in the burn center 25 years ago and then traveled from Florida to watch me walk that stage. She understood me and calmed me those times I was intubated when I tried to speak. Kelly who was there to see me at Pinning gave care that was always loving, even though it couldn’t be delicate. Vicki came for my graduation party and she was with me long ago on a night I nearly lost my right leg from a clot after open heart surgery.
Then I have my neonatal experiences. Our second visit to the NICU in July 2009 we had Noreen. She connected with me as a mother. She simply wrote her name on the board and identified with my need for a list. She wrote out the goals my little Gavin needed to reach before we could expect to take him home. Noreen gave me security by acknowledging my instinctive nature and drive to care for my baby, and she let me do that in any way that I possibly could. I relinquished control to her because I trusted her.
Stepping into my role as a neonatal nurse, I have developed endless amounts of admiration for my co-workers. It began with Donna, my preceptor during my nurse externship in July 2011. She was a natural teacher and her demeanor was a magnificent blessing to me. Last summer in 2012, I spent ten weeks being oriented for my job with Carrie. She was quick, organized, and calm. She just knew how to get things done and the best way to do it.
As we celebrate Nurse’s Day, I have to pay tribute to these amazing nurses. Nursing is love. I can’t imagine a greater way of touching someone’s life than in their time of need. It’d be impossible to remember every patient, but every patient may remember what a fabulous nurse you were to them—I sure do!
I Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
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