YON 2020 Day 53: Megan Gallagher, AGACNP, CCRN, CFRN

As a nurse working in Critical Care Transport at the Cleveland Clinic, Megan Gallagher, AGACNP, CCRN, CFRN, shares her advice for anyone considering a career in nursing and reflects on how she keeps her passion and enthusiasm for nursing alive.

The advice I would offer to a person who is interested in nursing is that while it is not always easy, it is very worthwhile. As a nurse, you will get to see humanity at its best (and worst) and connect with people every day. There will be patients and cases that will stay with you forever. Things that you swear only happen in books or movies will happen right before your eyes. You will see life begin and end. After a long day of fighting to save someone’s life, the many things that seemed so important suddenly seem obsolete. You will quickly connect and advocate for strangers you only met a few hours ago. There will be days when you will think you cannot possibly last another 12 hours, but you will--and you will come back the next day to do it again. The patients and experiences that are a part of a nursing career are reminders that we only get one life to live, so we should make the most of it.

I feel very fortunate to have a career in the field of nursing. It is the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Each day is different from the last, and each 12-hour shift can fluctuate from calm to intense very quickly. It always keeps me on my toes and I learn something new every day. Watching patients overcome diagnoses that are devastating inspires me to have the strength that they do. This profession really keeps me grounded and makes me appreciate the simple things.

The lives of many of the patients we transport change in minutes, and it reminds me daily how fragile life really is. I have learned that it doesn’t matter where you come from, how old you are, what you do, or how much money you make, life can change or end for anyone at any time. I have also been on the patient’s side of the health care experience, and know how much a thoughtful, engaged provider means to patients and their families. Having had the personal experience of seeing the whole picture from both sides keeps my passion for nursing alive. I can’t see myself doing anything else.

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