My friend, Deanna, offered to interview me. 5 questions arrived in my in-box last week and now I'm to answer them here for you all to enjoy. However, since I'm long winded (and, for some reason, into posting "series"), I'll be posting them in a 5-part series so you can slowly savor each answer. :)
1. How did you decide to go into nursing? Are you happy with that decision?
Long story short, I was interested in healthcare and my RA was a nursing major. After talking to her and learning more about nursing (although my mom was a nurse, the view I held then of nursing was more of a “physician’s handmaiden” kind of view), I decided to join the nursing program. For the most part, I love nursing. I love the diversity of careers that are available in nursing: teaching, writing, consulting, acute care, home care, case management, and various advanced practice nursing roles. Right now, I’m a gastroenterology nurse practitioner and love my job. I like the regular hours, the fact that no one is going to die on me during my “shift", and that I get to spend time with my patients and include health promotion and education during their visits. I like the relationship that develops over time and I think my patients appreciate the holistic care I give them and the time I spend with them. Also, not that this is the reason I went into nursing, but nursing is a financially stable career that also has historically been family friendly (as most nurses are women). I love that part, especially now that I have Sam.
There are days when I am disgruntled that I am in nursing. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between a physician, physician’s assistance and a nurse practitioner and don’t see the value in the different aspects I bring to their care (namely, my education in being able to communicate and also the emphasis in health promotion). I take the time to call my patients and talk to their family members because I feel like that helps my patient’s health; this is not something that is usually emphasized in the medical model. A lot of people (patients, physicians, insurance companies) think I’m “just a nurse” and don’t understand my qualifications as an independent healthcare provider. I’ve even had some providers speak rudely to me or write degrading things in their office notes about me, simply because I am not a physician.
But, that’s their problem, I guess. I continue to point out the advantages of being cared for by a nurse practitioner who bases care on a nursing model. I continue to explain exactly what a NP does and contributions that nurses have made to the healthcare field (if it weren’t for Florence Nightingale, there would be no handwashing or infection control in hospitals). I think that in a few years, I will probably go back to school and get my Doctorate of Nursing Practice and officially be Dr. Kaufman. Maybe when Sam goes to kindergarten.