I know this blog is primarily about fitness. But sometimes, I like to talk about my work as well. Mainly because there are a lot of similarities between having a challenging fitness schedule and having a challenging job. It`s almost impossible not to apply the life lessons I learn from nursing to staying fit, and vice versa.
This past weekend was a great weekend at work. It was tough and scary at times, but utterly satisfying in the end. My patient went from being crazy unstable to being sort of stable… three days of solid work by a great team of surgeons and ICU doctors and nurses and RTs. It was one of those weekends that makes me love my job. It`s absolutely humbling being entrusted with such fragile little patients, and it`s a great feeling to know that I can help them get stronger.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, it’s made me reflect on how far I’ve come in my career as a nurse. When I was a new nurse, this patient would have terrified me. And I’ll be honest, we had some pretty intense moments with this little patient over the weekend, and it was still pretty scary at times. But somehow, in the past 5 years, I’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable. That stress that I feel when I see something going wrong and I need to act fast is actually a very good thing. I’ve gotten to know that feeling, learned to act on it and live with it in my work at the bedside. That feeling is part of being an ICU nurse. Instead of trying to avoid it, like you do when you’re young and inexperienced and everything in the hospital scares you, good nurses learn to use it. That “oh shit” feeling is your friend in a lot of ways. It makes you act, and take control of the situation. You learn to love the discomfort.
I could apply this lesson in a thousand ways to other parts of my life. Let’s talk about the “oh shit” feeling you get when you hit a wall during a tough run. I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt it. How can I learn, as a runner, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable? Well, I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that one. And I know you all do too, because it’s kind of obvious. Practice makes perfect. The more unstable patients I have, the better I get at taking care of them. The more I push myself past my comfort zone when I run, the better I will become at dealing with it.
As obvious as all of this seems, it’s nice to have a reminder of it every once in a while. I guess I`m having an “oh yeah” moment. This is why I train hard. So that when I’m uncomfortable during a race, I’ll be ok with it. I’ll know how to take control.
I’ll be honest, I’m still learning that lesson when it comes to my fitness. I used to really just run for fun, so if I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t have much motivation to push through and keep going. But if I’m serious about running longer distances, I’m going to have to learn how to be uncomfortable. Eeesh, this doesn’t sound fun. But I’m pretty sure I can do it. If I can adjust to caring for critically ill children, I can probably adjust to anything, right?
So that’s my essential truth about Nursing. If teaches me how to be better in all areas of my life. And I think that’s probably true about running, about loving, about doing anything that’s actually worthwhile.