Wednesday, January 16, 2013

We Teach, We Nurse: Savin' Lives Is What We Do

This may take a few minutes to read through, but hear us out. Plus you get to hear from Ty in this one, what a bonus! We both work in professions that allow us to save lives in different ways. Ty has been blessed with an incredible amount of patience, the ability to teach a large classroom, and make a difference in and out of the classroom for these kids who come from less fortunate backgrounds. Cori helps heal those sick, is able to provide care during some of the worst time in people's lives, and is known at the hospital for her attitude and smile. These are the things that we are very proud of each other for and are just few reasons we married each other! 

Don't get too excited but you get to see a little snipit of what we look like when we get ready for work...
Here we are!

Mr. Stanley's school pic!

Four years ago this was not where I thought I would be. To be honest, I was pretty sure that after college graduation I would look towards a career in law enforcement. However, six months before I walked across the stage I had a change of heart. My whole life I have had a plethora of excellent teachers, coaches, and mentors. How could I be selfish and not do my very best to give back in the same capacity that ruled my life from pre-k through graduate school: education and athletics.

Here I am now, a 7th grade math teacher and coach of 3 sports at a school that's 180 degrees opposite from how I grew up. I teach some students who have reading and math skills at an elementary level, who would go toe to toe with my 2 year old nephew in a debate because they are new to the country and their english is in it's infancy. My students are ALL challenging, ALL different, ALL funny, and all needy in their own ways. MOST show up 4-5 times each week, SOME only 1-2. They are from from Chuuk, Laos, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Central America, and various part of the US. The school is 80+% low-income students and it's as inner city as you will get in Vancouver. The turnover rate of the students, the 20+ languages spoken at the school, the cultural and ethnic backgrounds, the diversity and the challenge of being the person my students know they can count on every single day is what motivates me to help these students to be better in and out of school.

I use this statement of 'saving lives' loosely because I am not actually saving lives but rather I'm in the game of changing lives. I guess you could say I'm the sherpa to my students who are trying to climb their educational Everest. Either way my job is to lead, to guide, to provide assistance and eventually step off camera when my students take their picture at the top.

My classroom and life expectations:
1. Work Hard & Be Nice
2. The only thing you have total control over is your attitude
3. Hands on and Minds on learning

Three simple statements but trying to get the importance of those ideas and their connection with being successful to 7th graders has not been as seamless as I thought. I now take each day as it comes, praying each of my students and myself included, get better with time. That's where I have the opportunity to change lives...give me 9 months with those kids and I will instill some life lessons and some good math and/or athletic skills to prep them for their future.

Well good morning sleepy eyes!

Through majority of nursing school, my mind was set that my job in life was to work with kids as a nurse. There was no doubt in my mind that I would end up on a pediatric floor when I was all through with school. That was my dream, my plan. However, when I went to Africa I realized more than one thing...the important one in regards to my nursing career was that I needed experience everywhere if I was planning to go back to another country to provide any care. Those prayers were answered when I got the job in the float pool for Providence 3 years ago.

In the float pool, I have the opportunity to see cancer patients, those with cardiac issues, chronic medical problems complicated by acute conditions, general or orthopedic surgical patients, neuro patients (strokes, vascular surgeries, spinal and brain surgeries, and eating disorders), and then there's always to the psych side to it all too. With all the variety, my days are never boring and I'm always challenged (physically, emotionally, etc). I love that I can be utilized as a resource no matter what floor I'm on. Some days I am caring for those who face death everyday due to their chronic illness while other days a sudden emergency can take an individual's life.

This is where my job can be an amazing thing. This is where I'm blessed to be a part of the dying process. I get it, it sounds weird. It's something that most fear, most are uncomfortable with talking about, and it is always seems to be the saddest day of some people's lives. There are a few things I've learned in my short nursing career that may or may not come in handy for you, your families, or even the one who is dying.
  • The fear: I have noticed those who fear death when it approaches have no strong faith in any religion. The anxiety of those patients can be makes the dying process more uncomfortable and worrisome. Believe, have faith, figure it out. 
  • They can hear you: talk to your family member, tell them your thoughts, tell them some stories. They may not be able to respond depending on their conditions, but they hear you.
  • Uncomfortable discussions: We will all die at some point. I know you know that, I don't need to remind you. When? Who knows. I see young and old who pass away, expected and unexpected. My suggestion is talk with your family, spouse, or whoever is closest to you about your wishes. Make everybody share their wishes and then fill out an Advanced Directive so everybody will know what your wishes are when you're unable to make that decision for yourself.
  • Sad day: it's hard to think that the day someone important to you dies that it could be a happy day. I understand and realize that it doesn't sound right. Think about the day you were born...The Lord brought us into the world and when our plan for Him is to leave this world, we should feel blessed just as we were to be able to live. It can be a happy thing.
Alright, now that I brought the topic of death out there for all who even care, I have a great story of life...another chance at life that is! I was recently working on our cardiac floor and heard the red phone go off. The red phone means that something is wrong with a patient based on their heart rhythm. My body immediately reacted by running to the patient's room, lifting the patient back on the bed (with another nurse of course) as the patient had begin to fall, finding that there was no pulse, and immediately jumping on the bed to start chest compressions. After providing chest compressions, shocking the patient, and then continuing chest compressions yet again, the pulse returned. That's right, the heart decided to pump! By the end of it all, I'm pretty sure my heart was racing and the sweat had  soaked into my undershirt.

That day I helped saved a life. That patient gets another opportunity to live. As a nurse, that's what I and many others get to do. We save lives in emergencies, we have the opportunity to save patient's from fearing death at the end of their life, and sometimes it's just saving a life in the sense of giving them a little more hope in a day.

A little peek in our daily lives!
Love always,
The Stanleys!