I never thought that I would be a nurse. Moreover, I never thought I would enjoy being nurse. Without making this sound like an E-Harmony ad, let me just give you the basics. I am a 36 year old guy born in Toronto to Jamaican parents. I grew up in a suburb city called Mississauga (home of the longest running mayor Hazel Mccallion) as an only child which at times I hated but as I grew up,I realized being an only child was not so bad.
I always wanted to be a doctor. The idea of helping those were sick and curing them with medicine always enticed me as kid. While growing up, I would frantically always tell my parents and other family members that I wanted to become a doctor. I use to always read up on medical health books and even at one point (out of boredom) decided to make my own hand written health anatomy book when I was 11 (I never made it past page 3 though.) Throughout high school and even university I aimed to study and become that doctor that everyone including myself wanted to be. I took the necessary classes, achieved the grades necessary to enter university and stayed out of trouble.
Then reality hit in.
University though was great became more of a huge academically political expense. After being accepted to York University’s Kinesiology program I got bombarded with changes. By the end of my second year, York University went on a 5 month strike that made everyone’s academic year a living hell. At this point, I was fed up and just wanted to work so I took a year off before I went back to finish my degree. Apparently I picked the “wrong time” to take off because when I returned, they had restructured the kinesiology program making some of my previous courses not acceptable. Pissed off and frustrated, I switched majors and completed my degree in Psychology instead which took another two years to complete. Throughout my 20s I worked as a pharmacy technician for a major chain drug store; Shoppers Drug Mart as well I working at other jobs. Still determine to become a doctor, I decided to write the MCAT exam but I did not prepare for it. Instead I thought I would take it as a “practice exam” so I can gain more experience in writing the next one.
That was a complete waste of money and time. (what the hell was I thinking?!!?)
For starters, I did not take organic chemistry and physics throughout university in fear of flunking and lowering my GPA (as I saw it did with other students and friends.) Therefore, I thought I would be “smart” and self teach organic chemistry. It was very challenging. After writing the MCAT exam I knew that I was not ready but I was still determined. I still continued working as a pharmacy technician while working at other health related jobs after I graduated. Still feeling the desire to go to medical school, I decided to do another degree at the University of Toronto by getting into their Bioethics program which in hopes to get into medical school.
Again, another waste of time.
The majority of courses I had to take where philosophy courses which did not excite, or motivate me. Furthermore I found it confusing and perplexing as hell. So again I dropped out and went back to working. As I got closer to my thirties I realized that I needed to change careers and that the money that I was currently making would not be enough to suffice for my future.
And this is where nursing was born.
While at work one day during my day job (I was working two to three jobs at one point just to pay the bills and survive) I was looking at different careers. I became vastly interested in becoming a nursing anaesthesia assistant. It seemed cool, rewarding, and the pay was actually great. The only issue was that the job was not that popular in Canada but I didn’t care, I thought it would be a great job for me to do and being my stubborn self, I was determined. While researching into this career I discovered there were two ways to get into this career: Either by becoming a RT (respiratory therapist)or by becoming an RN (registered nurse). Without hesitation, I immediately applied to the RT program at a local college in my area. I got accepted but got put on a waiting list because so many people had applied which meant I would not start until the following year meaning yet another year wasted.
I was tired of wasting my time.
The other option: nursing. Now I will admit I thought the idea was stupid. Like come on, I am a 6’0, 230lbs guy who looks more like he should work for security than be a nurse! Why would I become a nurse? I mean nurses just change diapers and feed old people right?
“Stop being a male chauvinistic fool!” one pharmacist told me one night while I was at work asking her this same question.
“I am not.”
“Yes you are!!! There are a lot of male nurses out there. And no, being a male nurse does not mean you are gay either. Just stop your stupidity and apply. You will make a great nurse. You have great people skills. Trust me!”
“People skills? Nurses just do orders by doctors, I don’t think there will be that much people skills involved.”
“You are being a fool again. People skills are important. Trust me. When visiting loved ones in the hospital, the nurses who had great bedside manners were the ones I remembered. You my friend are a people person. I also know a number of male nurses as well who are doing great for themselves. Just stop your whining and apply.”
I shrugged my shoulders as I continued counting the lorazepam pills for our inpatient regular customer who sat nervous and anxious in the waiting room. “Yeah I guess you are right. I will look into the application.”
The pharmacist smile. “Great, now hurry up with those pills, Mr. Jackson is giving us that ‘eye'”.
My father dropped his fork. “Nursing? Why do you want do you want to nursing?”
I got up from the kitchen table and grabbed a drink from the fridge. “Because like I said, it will help me get into the career path I want.”
“So you don’t want to be a doctor anymore?” My mother asked inquisitively.
“Mom, by the time I apply to medical school get accepted and go through all the schooling, I will be in my 40s. I don’t have the time or expense for that.”
“I still think you should be a doctor.” My father interrupted.
“Why? Because you told everyone else in our family and friends that I already am?”
“Being a nurse is not professional career. It’s not a real job.”
I rolled my eyes. “I am going to my room. ”
“Well whatever I do I will support you.” My mother said.
I forced a smile. ‘Thanks mom..” I looked past my father as I went to my room.
……………..stay tuned for Episode 2: Nursing School..The Battle Camp!
Follow me on twitter: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on Instagram: Medsoulbrother
Follow me on my facebook page: Ford D Barrett