At the age of 4, according to my mother, I decided I wanted to be a nurse. With 5 siblings, I kept myself busy taking care of everyone when they were sick or injured or taking care of the sick dogs, chickens, or cows. Being a softie at heart, it was difficult to see anyone or anything suffer. When I got to be a little older, my diabetic grandmother would let me give her insulin injections and I found that to be quite exciting. At the age of 13 my brother was born and had a cleft lip and cleft palate. He was quite sickly and required 10 surgeries. I spent many hours helping take care of him and this was the “decision maker” for me.
I attended ECU School of Nursing graduating in 1979. Immediately after graduating, I started working at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Labor and Delivery. I have participated in many deliveries and have delivered quite a few myself. It was an awesome job and I loved almost every minute of it. It was adrenaline pumping, exciting, sometimes sad but rarely boring. I retired in 2012 after 33 years in L&D to come to Greenville Women’s Clinic. Being very passionate about women’s health, it has truly been a learning experience because GYN was something I knew very little about. I have learned so much in the short three years I have been here about many different things. Coming from a tertiary care center to an office setting has also been quite an adjustment. The stressors are of a different magnitude but are as equally critical in the office setting as in the hospital setting.
Nursing continues to be an ever changing and challenging career. My career has been wrought with many demands, victories, trials and tribulations but I would not trade any part of it. I cannot imagine spending my life doing anything else! I have met some awesome people and have had experiences I will never forget. I could write a book about some of the things I have seen and heard and I imagine it could make the best seller list for a week or two.
Happy Nurses’ Week to all the nurses out there and to those that are toying with the idea of nursing as a career. It is an awesome profession with many rewards – you won’t regret it!
Dawn Arnold, RN
Greenville Women’s Clinic