I Should Have Been a Librarian


Many years ago, when I was still a young and naive graduate nurse, I worked with an ICU nurse who was going back to college to become a librarian. Now, I have loved the written word all my life. Books are some of my most prized possessions. Still, it had never occurred to me to become a librarian. I chose nursing because I had a great capacity to care and it was a profession I felt I could really make a difference. Now that I'm a little older and wiser, I think that ICU nurse might have had a point.
There have been many days since then that I have looked at my life, and my chosen profession, and said: "I should have been a librarian."

Here are the facts.

For a librarian, there is order in all things. Ok, occasionally the books don't make it back to where they should be, but on the whole l find things exactly where you left them and exactly where they should be.

Hardly anyone yells at you. If they do, you can simply respond with "Shhh! This is a library!" and give them an authoritative scowl. In general people are happy to see you and you're happy to see them. In nursing, not so much. Unless you happen to be holding their pain medicine and it doesn't come in the form of a shot.

The librarian graveyard shift consists of you staying up all night to be the first to read the new best seller you checked out to yourself. Not dragging yourself around on 2am rounds to make sure everyone's still breathing and no one's fallen out of bed or soiled their briefs.

You get to fine someone for losing a book instead of worrying about being sued for losing a patient.

Dreams about your work are generally pleasant or at the very most a little unnerving or confusing. Try dreaming of your dead patient coming back to life to yell at you for removing their oxygen. Not so pleasant.

No unflattering and cheesy uniforms or squeaky shoes.

In all fairness though, I must admit there are a few up sides to being a nurse.

For instance, I'm a total wimp when it comes to paper cuts. Thank goodness for computer charting. Plus, checking out and sorting books all day could get a little boring after a while. Yes, some books can be labeled as "life changing", but when you're a nurse you're in the business of changing lives every day.
It's about seeing your patient's face beam when you walk into a room.

It's about having just the right hunch about what will ease a patient's anxiety.

It's about a favorite patient, when they realize their facing the last few hours to days of their life, calling you in just to say thank you for giving them the best care you could.

It's about the surgeon you thought didn't have a heart staying by that same patient's bed all night just to ease their passing.

It's about small miracles when he moves his hand again for the first time after a stroke.

It's about holding a hand, wiping a tear.

It's about a newborn's first cry.

It's about easing the pain.

It's about saving a life.

To think I would have missed it all, if I would have been a librarian.

Copyright 2007- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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