“I think I’m going to be a nurse,” I declared, after months of trying to figure out exactly what I could do that would not involve college and would hand over a paycheck from the get-go.
I was lucky in that I had grown up in a country that endorsed the idea of a practical training with only 8 weeks in the classroom per year. The rest of the time I would be tenderly holding sippy cups to old darlings who would pat me on the head and tell me I was wonderful.
Little did I know…
My rude awakening into the school of nursing was to be told that I could not wear pants in the classroom. Poverty-stricken to start with, I had to run downtown with some of the other girls and borrow five quid* to get myself a piece of stretchy cotton that went past my knees.
My next horror was the sight of an F on my first weekly test. Things only went downhill from there.
Thing is, I may have wanted to be a nurse, but I wasn’t very good at it; in fact, I was a hopeless case. If there was a statue in the hospital of a patron saint for bad nurses, I would have been put first on the list for the faithful candle burners.
For three years I fudged my way through cleaning sluices and washing body parts until I had my “staff nurse” belt. God must have had many angels watching over me during that period, because the only time someone died when I was in charge was when I went on a dinner break; and I was able to skip the mouth to mouth resuscitation of the man who had spent the previous half hour eating liquorices and never swallowed.
I will not mention the number of half-naked women and men forgotten about in the middle of their bed bath, or left sitting on the loo** for so long that they almost developed a large pressure sore ring around their buttocks. Neither will I mention giving out the wrong tablets*** (fortunately they were only vitamins) or having someone collapse after my administration of an enema.
But, surprisingly (or not), God knew what he was doing.
Inside me there was a healing gift, and over the years of working among the sick I developed the knack of knowing the right thing to say to them. I was able to warn visitors of a relative’s bad turn before they walked through the door. I could prepare a man emotionally for surgery. I could cajole and chastise. I could pray.
Inside me was the healing gift of counseling.
You’ll be glad to know that I have not worked as a nurse for the last 14 years, but I could not be more fulfilled. Just this week I will have the blessing of helping a woman trust her future fiancé after years of being let down by other men. I will get to help a woman fight her way through her anger at God and understand that He is close and she will make it. I will have the privilege of helping a man be a man instead of remaining a child. I will encourage a college student to stay holy for another week and hope she makes it through. I will encourage and inspire tweens and teens to be wasted on Jesus, and I will teach them how to jump into action at the mere mention of a physical or emotional to pray for healing.
I’ve still managed to avoid college, but boy has God been good to me.
I am a nurse of the mind, spirit, and soul of people, and my medicine is the Holy Spirit and the Word.
*quid = 1 pound ~ 1 dollar
**loo = toilet
***tablets = pills
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