April is Sjögren’s Awareness Month and it has made me reflect about when I was diagnosed and all the obstacles I had in front of me!
One of the first things that really made me stop and think about…… was my nursing career. I was working in a hospital and around many people who had illnesses that can be harmful to your immune system. I love being a nurse and working with patients, but I had to look at other options to stay healthy.
As an RN, I’m so fortunate to have many great opportunities to work outside the hospital! I have always wanted to work in the community. I’ve spent many years working in direct patient care and tried a few times to find the right fit for me and my family.
Last year I was given the wonderful opportunity to work with the American Red Cross and teach nursing assistants. I have always wanted to teach but was a little unsure if I would be successful in this area. I ended up falling in love with teaching and being able to educate and support students who were starting their career in healthcare and nursing!
Next step…….nursing students.
Something wonderful happened last fall and I was hired as a clinical instructor for nursing students in the bachelors program at HPU! I was nervous but excited to have the opportunity to educate these students who would one day be RN’s. My passion to care for others and my motivation to be a great nurse are two components that have helped me to share my skills and knowledge with my students. I had two classes last fall and currently have have two classes who are almost done with this spring semester.
Teaching nursing students has been something I have only dreamed about for many years. I was extremely happy and ready to get started last August! There was one little obstacle I needed to overcome……..Sjögren’s syndrome.
As a nurse with an autoimmune disease, I understand I need to stay healthy and strong to live my life each day. My anxiety about taking my students to clinicals on an acute care floor was a little nerve-racking for me! Not to mention, this floor has all of the patients who have multiple infections. Yikes! I started to have second thoughts once I found out where I would be spending eight hours a day, twice a week for twelve weeks.
I was anxious I might get sick, I might miss clinicals and that I might not be able to complete the semester! Hmmmmmmm…..I really sat down to think about this. I wanted to teach so badly but also had to be responsible and take care of myself and think about my family.
I decided that I was going to teach and I was going to be healthy. I was not going to let Sjögren’s syndrome take away my love and passion to care for others as a nurse!
I’m so happy I made the right decision! My second semester as a clinical instructor is just about done and I have been successful. What I mean by successful………
All of my students have been able to learn and grow as well as gain a lot of experience as a student nurse. I have also learned from them and been able to grow in many ways to help myself too! I have never missed a clinical day and have been able to stay healthy.
I have to share that I thought about how I have overcome many obstacles in my life last week as April 1 rolled around. My story about teaching was the first thing that came to my mind. It brings happy tears to my eyes to see how I’ve made progress and am able to continue to do what I love!
Please remember everyone’s body is different and unique. Always discuss any areas of concern about your autoimmune disease with your doctor.
Hugs to all…..You can do it!
Don’t be afraid of failure. If you never try, you will never succeed.