My son began his career as a paramedic firefighter. When he was 20 years old, he had a cathartic experience: He had a patient die due to a rare condition that he had never heard of. He swore that day that he would never lose another patient because of something he didn’t know. He became taking as many classes as he could.
Within 6 months, he became certified in Critical Care. Another year, and he was an RN as well as a medic. He quit firefighting and began doing flight nursing, transporting patients all over the world. Two years later, he earned his BSN. By his 25th birthday he began working in the ED and within a year was the charge nurse for his shift in the ED.
Then he got serious.
He got board certified in trauma nursing AND critical care. The first in the county to do both. He was the nurse in charge of trauma nursing for a level 2 trauma center, while at the same time being put in charge of training for his hospital. All before he was 30, supervising and training people who were decades older.
Now 32, he is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Emergency Medicine. The medics and nurses love him because he remembers where he came from- he isn’t some kid right out of college, he knows what it is like to do their jobs.
The doctors respect him because emergency medicine is what he knows best. There are procedures that he has taught that many of them have only read about in text books.
The shift he is on has a doctor and a PA who specialize in family medicine, and they defer true emergencies like intubations or cardiac arrest to him.
That is where the worry comes in. Because of this, he is highly sought after for viral pneumonia, meaning that he will soon be headed to New York City to help with the crisis. I worry for him, even while he looks forward to making a difference.