Portrait Essay

Ronica LeeProfessor MartinEnglish 101A-02September 28th, 2019Nursing is calling my nameTo become a registered nurse a person can either earn an associate of science in Nursing, which is 2 years of schooling, or an individual can earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing, which is 4 years of schooling. Tess Henderson went to college at Northern Arizona University for all four years of college. She graduated with her Bachelors. Her personal life had an impact on her school life, in a good way. The loss of her mother pushed her to do great things in life. She had multiple scholarships each term, and year. She didn’t have the money to pay for school, but she did have the brain and determination to get where she wanted to go. Through high school she had the best grades, attendance and reputation. She took college classes to get a head start in college and help her keep her busy. Many individuals tend to give up on life when something bad happens, but for her, she never gave up and had to be the person her siblings looked up to. On September 20th, 1996, during her mother’s 36th birthday, her mother passed away. Four years earlier, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Within that time, she spent hours of chemotherapy and radiation, the loss of her hair due to the chemo, loss of breast due to mastectomy, a surgery to reconstruct her missing breast, a bone marrow transplant, and countless days away from her family in the hospital. All this while raising three children. Tess was 10 years old when she died. She grew up in Cleveland, where her parents had settled after her father finished law school, and all her relatives lived out of state. The first Mother’s Day after her mom’s death, she gave a gift to her best friend’s mother, not knowing who else to present the sunflower seedlings they had planted at school for the occasion. Every Mother’s Day after that, until she left home for college, was a blur in her memory, from all those years. Tess felt like she had lived two lives: the one that ended when her mother died, and the one she is living now. For most of the past 23 years, especially when she was younger, her strategy to cope with her loss was to pretend there was no loss at all, “If my life began when she died, then it was like she never existed. If there was no hole left by her absence, there was no hole to fill,” Tess said as she shed tears from her sparkly dark brown eyes. She refused to say that growing up was harder for her, without a mother, because she hadn’t known anything different. As a young teenager she resented her friends’ relationships with their mothers, even when those relationships weren’t at their best. It took her years to come to the realization that having two parents didn’t necessarily make life easier. Although her father loved and raised them the best that he could, he couldn’t understand the pain she went through growing up without her mother. She couldn’t talk to her younger siblings about her pain because she had to be the one that they were to look up to and see as a mother figure. The three sisters had dreams and goals while being kids, they told their mother what they wanted to be when they grew up. Tess told me her mother once said this to her while being in the hospital, “Hold onto your dreams and goals, work towards them and don’t look back.” Each sister did that. Junior high and high school was all very difficult for them after losing their mother, she said there was times where they wanted to not do anything in life, that without their mother there was nothing to work for. But she turned that thought around after she had to come down to her senses and realize that her mother wasn’t going to come back. All she wanted was a mother to help her grow from a young girl, to a teenager and onto being an adult. Being the oldest was hard for her, she had to comfort her siblings, teach them what is right to do in life and be there to support each one of them. Their father had been away from them most nights of the week for work. Though she couldn’t see the hurt her father went through, she knew he missed her mother each day. She kept saying that her father worked hard for their family to not fall apart and lose the connection with each other because of their mother not being there. They had to stay strong for each other and support one another so they wouldn’t let that pain keep them from moving on in life. At the age of 32, her own life is much different, she has been married for 10 years, but no children, she does not plan on having children at all. Growing up makes her wish she could ask her what her mother what she was thinking and what she was feeling when she was at the same age. Tess Henderson, nurse of Flagstaff Hospital in the ICU has long brown hair, halfway down her back. She always wore makeup up, but not too much where you could tell she was. For being her age, she looks very well. I asked her what her secret was to look so young for her age, without hesitation, she laughed and told me, “honey it takes a lot of happiness”. Her personality is one you cannot find elsewhere, especially within the hospital. She is joyful, talkative and caring. I asked some patients that Tess was treating within the ICU; with permission of course; what Tess is like. Many replied that Henderson was one who puts everyone else before herself, she made sure they were feeling okay during her rounds, made sure that they were welcoming in the hospital and getting better within the time that they are there.I volunteer at the hospital, in the ICU where Tess works. I see her every Thursday during my shifts, I chose Tess for my interview because when I walked into the ICU, I had no idea what I was walking into. Tess welcomed me into all the nurses, doctors and practitioner’s workplace. On my first day she showed me around the area, showed me what I do as a volunteer and made me feel not so scared as I was feeling. Tess is an amazing nurse; I have never seen anyone so happy as much as I’ve seen her. She makes everyone in the ICU laugh and make sure they are having a great day. I noticed how she couldn’t stay in her chair for very long, there was always something for her to do or she always wanted something to do. When she is in her seat, she twirls around and around on the black work chair that is about 4 feet tall. The way she talked to her patients was calm and sincere, she never made them afraid of anything. She took close care of her patients. When asked to interview her, she had no problem telling me her story, she tried to add much details so I would get the feel as if it were me in her position. We both sat and talked on her day off at her place, which was an awesome home that was only one floor with an opened floor plan, the house was colored a light brown with pine green trimmings. I noticed she had 2 rides, a blue 2018 Honda Accord and a Black Chevy SUV. Before even walking in you could smell the coffee coming from inside. We sat at her glass dining table and proceeded with our interview. She was very pleasant and amazed that I wanted to do an interview on her. I never really knew much of her back story, but I am happy that I got to communicate with Tess and see where she came from. I let her know that my career is also to be a registered nurse. “I have to admit, in preparation of writing my nursing career, I found it very difficult to put a nursing career plan together”. Even though a nursing profession is a time consuming and stressful career, the longing and desire to be a nurse has always remained in her. The thought of a fast-paced movement, interaction with people, and being able to help people is what made nursing sound like fun and an interesting environment to work in for her. Helping others is what she loves the most because she wishes she could have done more to help her mother get better. Her mother is the reason she wanted to work in an environment where she can help others and comfort them whether they are getting better or worse. “Nursing is described as a beautiful, rewarding and motivating career followed with an acknowledgement that nurses are underappreciated”. Nurse Tess described her job as one that many don’t seek because many others think it is a job that doesn’t get attention for. Nurses spend enduring long hours, low pay, and suffering of others. To her the pay doesn’t matter, what mattered the most was making sure she was there to help those who needed the help and support her patients and the patient’s family. The most difficult thing during her shifts would be seeing some of her patients in pain, mentally and or physically. There would be times where she couldn’t do much but support her patients with words. Other than that, she loved her job very much and spend every day at work, from dusk to dawn. Growing up was a struggle for her and her family, but she never gave up on the dreams she had as a kid, which was being in the medical field. She spent long hours in school, with her family and on homework. Her siblings all graduated, and went on their own path after high school, both of her sisters went to school at Fort Lewis. Her younger sisters, Amy and Briana are now working as a social worker and a surgeon. They both also applied for multiple scholarships with the help of their oldest sister and was granted lots of money in college. Never did any of them give up so they wouldn’t fall behind, they were just as much as encouraged as Tess was. Tess was looked up to, and that made her feel proud. She uses her mother as someone she looked up to, someone she wanted to make proud and work for. Her mother would be so proud of her. Tess Henderson tells what she thinks about nursing, “it’s about helping the patient to do those things leading toward health or a piece of that which he ordinarily would do for himself if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge, and to help him in such a way that he is able to do for himself as soon as possible”. Nurses have many different responsibilities but one of their main responsibilities is to provide care for patients in the best way possible. Nurses must be ready at any time to be able to take care of someone in their position. They must be able to remain calm, even in tense situations, and need to be able to come up with solutions fast and efficiently. Nurses take direction from doctors who are working on the same patients as them. nurses do many different things for a patient. They bandage wounds, retrieve information on the patient, and give the patient medicine that the doctor has prescribed. The place a nurse works in is usually fast-paced and a little overwhelming. A type of nurse that seems like it would be exciting would be an emergency nurse. An emergency nurse can work in ambulances, helicopters emergency room, and sports arenas. When it comes to all the different kinds of nursing there is most likely a nursing that could fit anyone’s personality.I believe that nursing is a calling, and that I’m one of the chosen. My chosen career will always be working as a nurse and being able to give back. Nurse Tess is an inspiration to me, coming from a rough childhood, she didn’t stop at all and kept pushing herself for a great life and future. She is happy with what she does, and I want to be happy working in the job I will enjoy doing as well. She taught me that anyone can have a bad situation going on, but it is up to the person to let it bring you down or motivate you to get somewhere higher. She encouraged me to reach for the goal I want, which is to be where she is in life. There is a lot to be done to become a registered nurse: school, money and time wise. Seeing her living lavishly made me realize what I could have with that career. Volunteering in a place where I can see nurses do their jobs is an opportunity to see what they do, and how that react to their jobs. I would be a great fit with the personality and determination that I have. Nurses have all the respect I can offer. Henderson, Tess. In person interview. September 26th 2019.

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