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Is healthcare right for you?
...listen to health care workers
tell their own career stories:
I would describe what I do as extreme corrective work on the hearts of those who have suffered an emergency or are in bad cardiac shape. I want to say that I save lives, but I really do not. The patients pull through by themselves. I just help the body along. My work entails overseeing the processes by which the body can heal itself more readily – replacing parts that are not working, and saving as many parts as I can in the process. A common misunderstanding to correct about what I do is that it is always a life or death situation. Most of my patients are not in that type of danger, and I like for people to come see me before it ever gets that serious.
The body, when nourished by the soul, can heal itself in ways that science simply has not found yet. There were many times when we thought we had lost someone, and a tear, a voice, a touch, has brought them back. True miracles. I have witnessed true miracles.
I absolutely believe that this is my calling and my full enthusiasm is “unleashed,” every day. I know that this is what I am meant to do because I love to do it even when tired, frustrated by other events, or when I'm sick.
I have held the hand of dying patients and comforted them in their last moments and been thankful for all I have. I have been instrumental in saving lives, too, so it has been so much more than giving a bath for me or making sure their water pitcher is full. It has served as my inspiration for so many things.
I go to work every day because it is an opportunity for me to make a difference, regardless of how small it may seem, to a person who needs it. The proudest I ever felt at this job was in one simple phrase spoken by a sick patient: "Thank you for treating me like a person."
I absolutely love helping people. The only way that I could unleash any more enthusiasm is to get rid of my own hunger and fatigue. That's really the only thing that stops me from going even more than I do. I also don't like taking my own personal problems out on patients. I always worry that I do that.
This job definitely moves my heart - I did the Peace Corps right out of high school, but this is better because I don't really like to travel. I'm a homebody. Here, as a nurse, I can really develop relationships with patients so that I can learn how to best help them emotionally as well as medically.
The single most important thing that I have learned outside of school is this: People are the most important thing, not academics. In any field. And no matter how powerful you think you are, everyone needs help. I have seen some really powerful people reduced to complete weakness, and they have all told me the same thing - that they would treat people better after their experience.
I would tell any friend considering this line of work that if you do not love people, stay out of this field. I see too many bad and mediocre nurses and people are being hurt because of it. More than anything, people need your emotional strength and happy energy to make it through whatever they are going through. Hospitals help, definitely, but people heal themselves.
Assistant Dir. of Nursing
The most challenging moment I have ever encountered was the first death I experienced. I was very young, only twenty. I walked into that room a child and came out an adult. In those moments of preparing her, I realized that the most profound moment in life is death. It is a privilege and honor to be with someone as they leave this world.
I have Systemic Lupus. Having a chronic illness gives me a point of reference with my residents. I can empathize with them on a level that others can not. I am acutely aware that someday I will be residing in a nursing home. I treat my residents exactly the way I will want to be treated, with respect, compassion and humility.
I love this line of work because it is investigative. It is rewarding when I discover rare blood types and I am able to provide a safe unit of blood for a patient in need. In addition, this is a fast-paced job as many patients may be on the operating table and are in dire need of a transfusion. I have to work fast and maintain 100 percent accuracy.
Medical Coder & Biller
Perhaps you want something more dramatic than the story of a medical biller and coder. I cannot provide spicy anecdotes, and that is an occupational hazard I have learned to live with. I am not an trauma surgeon nor an EMT. But, I have a curious mind, and typing most of the day while dealing in codes is an enjoyable way to spend the day. What I do is abstract, and people looking to enter the field should know that. It is not for everyone, as I think I've made clear, but it is is a rewarding career.
I get up and go to work each day to help give a voice to the voiceless. For those who have passed away under mysterious circumstances, it is essential that I find the cause, even if just to give some closure to family members.
The satisfaction I receive in helping solve medical mysteries, as well as in bringing justice to families of the deceased, keeps me going, day after day. When I get up in the morning, I go to work with a sense of pride.
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