Nursing is both a science and an art. Science- there’s no doubt about that. But art? I had to rethink. How can Nursing be an art? How can cleaning after human excretions be an art?
“If you become a nurse, you wouldn’t mind the work if you knew how much it pays” or “It’s a practical career choice because you can apply your knowledge of it in any situation” are lines that would almost convince you to take nursing if it weren’t for that part about cleaning people’s wastes. The notion about the huge pay did not even convince me to take Nursing. I hated Nursing. Take note- I used the past tense of hate. Does that mean I love it now? Hate is not necessarily the opposite of love. Our University President once said that the opposite of love is loneliness. Nah, I’m just starting to like Nursing. I’ve got to take things one level at a time, you know.
In freshman year, we were taught Anatomy and Physiology. It was strictly pure science. You have to know this and that- memorize, memorize, memorize and make sure you understand. I could simply not realize the beauty in seeing a real human heart that probably beat many times when it was still alive or the crisscrossed linings of a preserved human brain. I mean- hello?? It did look gross! And secretly, we had more fun acting as if the thigh bone (femur) were a shot gun and went aiming each other with it. Some of my classmates were more creative; they took a skull cap, filled it with little bones from the hand and used the upper arm bone (humerus) to mix. Voila! Bone soup, anyone?
I know, I know. It was bad, unethical, immoral- not to mention, disgusting. But we were first years! And our brains were mostly composed of big lollipops and teddy bears and a game called Warcraft. (Seriously, though, it really is not good to mess with the cadavers or the bones especially when the instructor sees you.)
Sophomore year is different. We are taught that man is more than just “an organism” to be dealt with. Man acts or reacts as a whole, and is different from and more than the sum of his component parts. Man is an open system- a system which cannot work by itself; instead, it needs external resources to continue its internal functions. See, this amazed me. As in, amazing!
How can people think Nursing is just about assisting doctors and wiping asses? I don’t know with them, but in our school, we’re taught to appreciate people as beings with dignity. You’ve got to be respectful and honest. You’ve got to be responsible. You’ve got to aim perfection. You’ve got to excel, not for your own glory but to excel only because you know it will make positive difference to those around you who need you.
In our profession, humility is a must- because you can’t just walk around all proud of your white uniform when, really, what you do at work is something the common person would call “most disgusting” or even “most degrading.”
I’m grateful I took Nursing even though I didn’t initially want it. It is only through nursing that you would see life in death and death in life. Personally, I haven’t gone out to real field duty yet, so I still don’t have a lot of stories to tell. But if at this stage I’m able to realize things I’m still about to experience, how much more if I were out there? It would be beautiful. It would be art.