Spy Garden, RN

I have graduated from Maryville University’s nursing program and now have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing! Technically the “RN” will be official as soon as I take boards. And technically, I have scheduled this post to publish during my graduation ceremony. So it may be more accurate to write “I am graduatING, right now!”

I thought you were a stay-at-home-mom Spy Garden?!

Well, I sort of was. It was an evening and weekend program. But that also goes to show that in blog-world you are only seeing one small facet of a blogger’s life.

I thought you already had a degree, in English and Art History from Wesleyan University?

Yes, so now I have two bachelor’s degrees.

Why didn’t you just get a Master’s or a Doctorate?

I will! But I wanted to do nursing so I had to get the BSN first.

What sort of grades did you get?

Straight A’s! Not even one A-.

Do you think it was a good idea to vow to write 100 posts in 100 days during your last semester of nursing school?!

That was not entirely well thought out. On some of the days, after working for 12 hours, coming home and spending quality time with the fam, I then had to sacrifice 1-2 hours of sleep because of that vow! But it was still a good challenge. And I think it is fun to juggle multiple things.

Me, literally juggling things.

Me, literally juggling things.

Wow, you are so awesome!

Not so fast! Most of the people in the evening and weekend program work full-time AND have 2+ kids AND a working spouse. I did have a job when I first began the program in Fall of 2011. I was on maternity leave, which also entailed working a bit from home.

It was all a bit too much for me.

It was all a bit too much for me.

So I did end up quitting the job and just focused on school. I was home (mostly) on the week days. So I definitely had more time to study than most. Plus I am sort of a good test-taker, which did make nursing school easier.

So what is going to happen to Spy Garden? Are you still going to update it? Is it going to change focus? Are you going to start telling me to drink eight glasses of water a day?

It will probably remain the exact same. It’s always been mostly about my leisure pursuits. And I believe I have already once mentioned something about drinking plenty of water. But I’ve been in the nursing program the entire time I’ve had this website and never mentioned it.

And why is that?

I don’t know. I guess I prefer “Afters” to “Befores”. And look at Painting Pundit. She’s a nurse, with a blog about art. It’s a crazy world.

Why nursing? Shouldn’t you be teaching art to kids or doing graphic design or working on an organic farm somewhere?

I worked for two great St. Louis companies (separate employment experiences: one was real estate, one was IT) before going to nursing school. They were great companies but I just never felt that I fit in. I found that no matter how “creative” I was allowed to be in prior roles it never felt fulfilling to me. Take Spy Garden. While I enjoy it and it is a great outlet for my creative pursuits, I can’t imagine a career as a “blogger”. I always get into trouble when I try to elevate literature/writing/art/gardening beyond leisure pursuits; they leave me wanting more. Plus I sort of feel that when there is pressure to perform sometimes that can take the joy and “leisure” out of your leisure pursuits. Being successful in writing or art or gardening would take a lot of hard work and determination. And “hard work” and “determination” don’t sound leisurely at all! It’s great when others can make careers out of their hobbies, it just didn’t work like that for me. Business and sales are not my strong suit. This is why I share my art and writing for free on the internet and don’t put disclaimers on photographs like “Property of Spy Garden”. Take my photos, share them, put them on a billboard, what do I care? Sharing is caring.

Wow, you’re right. I don’t think you would make a very good salesperson/business person. But, you didn’t really answer the question: Why nursing?

I presume I would not have majored in English and Art History if I had considered any of that “fulfilling” stuff or “practicality”. Nursing skills come in handy in pretty much all aspects of my life (i.e. as a parent, for one). And heaven knows nursing skills would be incredibly useful in a zombie apocalypse! Plus I was drawn to the idea of a truly fulfilling line of work.

What about Baby? Isn’t she going to miss gallivanting around Spy Garden all day?

She is quite social and ready for preschool. I could drop her off at a dungeon and she would probably be running the place by the time I picked her up. Thankfully, she won’t be locked in a dungeon and will be attending The World’s Most Amazing Preschool Ever (a “Forest School” with a Reggio-based philosophy) that the Spy also attended. Basically if Spy Garden were a school it would be this school. And they do have a garden. A big one.

What about you? Aren’t you going to miss lounging around the house all day eating bon-bons?

Not really. Being a stay at home mom is really great and I’ve enjoyed it and cherish the time I was able to spend with Baby.  But now she is going on three and as I said she is quite social and ready for preschool. I am actually excited to start a new career as a nurse. Nursing a great career choice for parents, you can opt for schedules that leave ample room for quality Smoochie family time (and gardening, bon-bon eating, etc.)!

How dare you insinuate that stay-at-home-moms lounge around all day eating bon-bons?

Woah! I was just joking. Though I personally found it to be a pretty “sweet” gig.

Ha Ha. I see what you did there. Ok. Fine, I’ll let the comment slide. I know the content of Spy Garden is 97% satirical, I read it in your About page. But can you get serious for a minute? Share more about your experience as a student nurse.

I learned thousands of new things (maybe a million?). I cared for patients who were dying. I cared for tiny, tiny babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. I cared for kids with cancer. I cared for young adults with brain tumors. I listened intently to the conversations of recovering addicts while they chain-smoked cigarettes. Sometimes I wanted to chain-smoke cigarettes. I put in IVs and pulled tubes out and put tubes in various orifices. I held patients’ hands as they cried. I prayed with them. Patients said to me: “I want to die.” “I don’t want to die.” “I’m scared.” “Is it going to hurt?” Perhaps the greatest thing I learned was how to face these questions and care for patients while they contended with illness, suffering and mortality (and also joy and wellness). Knowing the effect of the sodium potassium pump is useful, but the more abstract lessons I learned in nursing school were the most meaningful.

Sometimes it was gross. Sometimes it was beautiful. Usually both in the span of a few minutes. The most fulfilling and amazing experiences challenged and shaped my understanding of myself and of humanity. In a typical day’s work I was privileged to glimpse an astonishing scope of human emotion, strength and weakness.  And I’ve begun to see what “caring” looks like.

Wow, you almost brought a tear to my eye.

Yeah, I just googled “tearjerker” nursing quotes for inspiration. But don’t worry even in the midst of all of this depth of humanity stuff there is always room for a silly joke. The importance of humor may be my favorite lesson.

All in all, sounds great. Best wishes Spy Garden, RN!

Thanks and yes, truly, the only unfortunate thing about this whole amazing nursing deal is that we don’t wear those cute hats anymore. Or those chic white pencil skirts.

15 thoughts on “Spy Garden, RN

  1. Pingback: DNP Beginnings | Spy Garden

  2. Pingback: A Brand New Garden! | Spy Garden

  3. The Geeky Gardener

    Well done! I’ll raise a glass of Christmas spirit to congratulate you. Well, it’s only 11am where I am. Best make it a cup of tea.

  4. narf77

    It would seem that you have answered any questions that I may have wanted to post in the one post. All that leaves is a large dose of congratulations to you and your prospective career. I must say…it doesn’t come as any surprise to me that you would choose nursing. To be a nurse is a calling that only the best of us choose. To be a “good” nurse…one that actually listens to their patients, who holds their hands, who goes through their experiences with them and who doesn’t choose to suck the nitrous oxide when its free from the desperate line of new mothers in order to block out all thought, is a noble calling indeed. I think you are ready for it ma’am. A more noble and humble person for the job I couldn’t think of off the top of my head. Here’s to someone who cares in someone else’s darkest hour. I raise my glass to you ma’am and can only hope that should I ever be privy to my own personal darkest hour that your Aussie alternative is sitting there with me. :)

  5. Eliza Waters

    OMG, you really pulled a fast one on us this time! As Gomer always said, “Gollllleee!” Firstly, congratulations! You are one impressive woman to juggle (literally and figuratively) all that you do AND get straight A’s. Damn, girl! Whew. Speaking of A’s, you must be what the call a Type A personality, huh? I imagine that you will make a fine nurse and with your sense of humor, your patients will heal faster because as we all know, laughter is the best medicine. And they now have research to prove it (along with prayer, it beats Big Pharma in many cases).
    My only request is that you don’t abandon your followers – please! You’ve created an addiction here – have mercy! Feel proud, you’ve done good!


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