Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Human Experience

So this is what I do in my free time, my one reprieve: I watch netflix instant. It is how I unwind at the end of the day, it's what I use to break up the continual studying I've done over the course of this year. I like indulging in my tv shows and watching documentaries.

The other day I was pondering through my documentaries on my queue...and I decided to watch one I've had on my list for awhile. Titled "The Human Experience" it is a film about a few young altruistic men who set on on the ultimate experience: placing themselves in the shoes of others. They go through three profound experiences. The first experience is living homeless on the streets of New York for a week. The second is traveling with some surfers, who partake in an organization called Surf for the Cause, who travel around the world surfing the waters of several countries but also giving back to the communities with which they experience...in this case  with the lost children of Peru at the Villa la Paz Foundation started by Dr. Anthony Lazzara. The third experience finds them in Africa at a leprosy colony with a friend who is documenting the lives of the outcast lepers who are left to fend for themselves in an outside colony.

Each one of these experiences offers a unique looks into a world of humanity vastly different than the one with which most Americans are familiar. While no one's problems can ever be doubted, the documentary is powerful in that it shows the unique challenges, trials, and tribulations each one of these cultures of people experience...yet the happiness, faith, and love that exudes from each population.

There is something to be said about living beyond yourself, for others. It's one of those things that has always called to me. And since watching the documentary, it offered a brief glimpse outside of my nursing school world, back to why I am gaining this education and licensure. So I can travel the world and give to others. Not to sit in a comfy hospital for the rest of my life. I believe that each one of us can give to others within the means that we have. Whether that giving is monetary, time, or energy. We can give faith, happiness, support, encouragement, love and respect to others. We can give our time, listening ear, embrace, or time spent in silence...just to know we are not alone. Or we can give much more, if we have the means, whether it be materials or money, to benefit the lives of others. Even without excess, each one of us holds the power to connect with others of the human race, and to show the light of how alike we all are in our humanity. We all love, we all smile, we all belong to this world.

I still have 10 weeks of nursing school left. I am exhausted, overburdened, and overwhelmed. Most of the time I am not quite sure that I really can do this. That I am smart enough to pass my boards, to be a nurse, and be afforded the privilege to be let in the lives of others in their most vulnerable times and be entrusted with their lives. Yet I believe that is what fuels the fire for my nursing career. Not the money, prestige, etc. It's the opportunity to give back to my fellow humans, to provide for them, and to afford them opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

I believe that is one of the reasons the Lord has laid His hand upon my senior practicum to be in the NICU. To bring me back to what started this whole journey, to remind me of what I've been working towards, and what I desire in this nursing journey. What I believe in and what is important. Because I can tell you right now, many of the principles that this program encompasses do not hold true to my own principles and values for the future.

The emphasis on an esteemed reputation, and on being the best. That is not what I value. I value the ability to connect with my patients, to touch them and provide a human connection, whether it be at a turning point to continue on in life or to face death. I value respect and equality, not perfection. I value love and uniqueness, not uniformity. I think that's what I needed to be reminded of, and what a wonderful documentary to do that. If there is a will, there is a way. If there is a heart, then I will take great care of my patients. I won't be perfect, I won't know all the answers, but I will be there, and I will provide love and respect to my patients. I will look for opportunities to work outside of my comfort zone. And I will continue to learn more about other cultures and peoples and not stay in my cultured bubble. I want to travel the world, and see the people/cultures of the world. I want to experience humanity, and all the beauty it brings.

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