My father-in-law is a retired professor of kinesiology and wrestling coach. He continues to be very involved with wrestling, often running clinics for students, athletes, and other coaches. While he may not hold the title “motivational speaker,” I believe him to be one. He stresses the importance of discovering one’s passions in life to his students, colleagues, friends, and family. He has several of his own passions and enjoys hearing about the passions of others, that is, what brings them the greatest fulfillment and joy.
The Level III nurses in the MICU where I worked each identified a diagnosis or patient population as their ‘specialty.’ It was part of the application process to attain that coveted position. I was always drawn to caring for patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), perhaps because many of the patients we saw with that diagnosis were young women, not much older than me at the time. These patients were often newly diagnosed and were admitted with only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, most of them had rapid progression of the disease and went home for only a short time, if at all.
It seemed only natural that this would be my clinical focus when I applied for my Level III position. I was the primary nurse for just about each PPH patient we admitted. I delved into learning everything about the disease and its treatment. At the time, we would do trials of inhaled nitric oxide to assess the response of a patient’s pulmonary arteries to vasodilators. If the pulmonary artery (PA) pressure decreased, they’d be treated with either oral vasodilators or a prostacyclin infusion. We’d monitor PA pressures, cardiac output, and systemic vascular resistance closely to get the optimal dose while being alert for adverse reactions. Sounds simple, but it rarely was. This was about 10 years ago and additional treatment options are available now.
Primary pulmonary hypertension was definitely my passion in critical care. Why? It’s hard to say - perhaps I identified with the young patients admitted, perhaps because the treatment trials involved frequent assessment of hemodynamic parameters and the changes in the numbers and the patients symptoms were clearly evident, or perhaps because most patients were awake and able to communicate (unlike the majority of the patients in our unit). Maybe all of the above!
Many of you may feel that nursing is more than a job and more than a career. Is nursing your passion? What makes it your passion? And is there a certain patient or diagnosis that you are most passionate about?