Melissa A. Downs submitted 2019-09-15

Five years ago, I found myself experiencing chest pain and ended up as a patient in the emergency room. Like most emergency rooms, it was a lengthy wait with medical professionals bustling about running multiple tests on me. When the physician finally arrived, he asked me what the problem was… while staring at his phone. No eye contact from him and no empathy whatsoever. I explained to him what my symptoms were and still, he stared at his phone. Did he not know how scared I was? I thought I was having a heart attack! Come to find out it was just anxiety. Nevertheless, it was obvious that his heart was not into his work.

On the flip side, when I was in high school, I was involved in a car accident which saw me spend two weeks as an inpatient in the hospital. I remember watching with awe how the nurses were so committed to their patients and wishing that I could someday have the chance to make a positive impact on individuals such as they were. In my mind, these nurses were true heroes. I was so inspired by their dedication. It’s one thing to save a life, but to do it daily, that is something on an entirely different level.

These experiences have taught me that not everyone goes into the medical field for the right reasons. Some people do it for the money. Others do it because their parents told them they had to. I have been working as a Certified Medical Assistant for the past eight years, and I have learned that the only type of person who should pursue a career in the medical field are the people who truly want to help others. I believe a rewarding career should have little to do with the money or wages offered and everything to do with the services provided.

While serving in this line of business I have worked in several different departments. One of which was Heart and Vascular. I feel that while working in the Heart and Vascular department I was prepared on an entirely new level for emergency situations that revolve primarily around the heart. One of the things that has stuck with me the most is to always be aware of the AED location. I find myself looking for the AED now in all new settings because you never really know when you are going to need it! Working in the Heart and Vascular department also provided me ample opportunity to observe and assist with patients that have heart troubles. Many of those situations happened to be emergency circumstances where the patient was having a heart attack during their appointment. I feel that these experiences have only prepared me more for the medical field and reminded me that I am truly up for the task of becoming a nurse.

My mindset and inspiration have been inspired by this profession as far back as I can remember. It has been so much in me that when I was a kid my brothers would let me play army with them only because they needed a nurse to fix their phony wounds. It was by far my favorite game to play. As I became older, I only wanted to learn more about how the human body systems work and how illnesses transpire. I would find myself saving random medical facts onto my Pinterest boards, just because I was curious. What I didn’t realize was I was subconsciously practicing for a path that I would no doubt pursue for the rest of my life. My ultimate hope is that I’ll get the chance to receive the respected education needed to fulfill this dream.

It is because of my involvement of working as a Certified Medical Assistant that I believe I am the right type of person to pursue a nursing career. I have already made a positive impact on so many patients within our community by helping them through some of their most vulnerable moments I know by furthering my education I would only be that much more well-rounded for the job. Currently I am working in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department of Mercy Hospital where we see patients with limb loss recovery, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. My heart swells with the stories from each one of the patients that we treat. I have prayed with them, I have listened when they needed to be angry, and most importantly, I let them know that in that moment, I was their person and that they were in good hands.

Finally, I honestly believe that nursing is a calling and that I am one of the chosen. When I become a nurse, I will do my best to provide my patients with a sense of hope that also gives them the comfort of a compassionate presence. Although it is going to be hard work, it is people like me that are needed in this field the most. I am understanding, empathetic and a quick learner with great communicative skills. All I need now is the education to become who I was always meant to be.