If you hadn't heard, I'm in nursing school in my third of four semesters, which is so hard to believe! (Wasn't I just starting?) I love nursing school, even when it has meant lots of late nights studying and some very stretching clinical experiences. I think I'll look back and see that these four semesters have been one of the best decisions I ever made. This semester I'm in OB, pediatrics, community health, and aging adult all at once, so I'm getting a pretty good picture of the whole life span. It's so beautiful and mysterious how God has created our bodies.
A theme that keeps coming up over the last few weeks is that I feel very open to alternative/natural/holistic medicine. When I went through my Celiac health crisis a few years ago, it was a natural doctor who finally diagnosed me correctly after 5 different internists had diagnosed me with a variety of other things... pregnancy (twice), diabetes, thyroid problems. So since that time, I've been much more open minded and even passionate about natural remedies, diet changes, and a holistic look at the body. We juice vegetables, we take elderberry syrup in the winter, we make homemade deodorant, we eat gluten and dairy free, and more. It's what has worked so well for us and has truly given me back my health.
While in nursing school - as I've been working in the thick of modern, Western medicine - I've seen some things that are unsettling...
A triple bypass patient ordering a burger and fries for his first meal out of surgery (while the nurse holds the menu and makes the phone call).
A pregnant woman receiving an epidural at only 3cm dilated and no painful contractions yet (thereby immobilizing her for the duration of her labor), because she hasn't been told any differently.
Vaccines and hormonal birth control being pushed pretty hard.
Surgeries (like hysterectomies) that seem more convenient than needed. Maybe it's just me, but taking a whole organ out of your body shouldn't really be a first option if there are other things that can be done.
But there are also things I think Western medicine does really well.
If I needed a cutting-edge brain surgery, I know I would be in the very best hands here in America.
If I was in a serious car accident and needed to be life flighted, or had a high-risk pregnancy, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
So I want to be balanced about it all. I know Western medicine isn't perfect, and I know the alternatives aren't perfect either. I know that pharmaceutical companies have too much of a say in how patients are treated because they have the most money. But I know that many alternative practices are not researched well and ride on tradition (for lack of money).
So there it is. I'm thinking out loud about some things I've seen and felt with no clear answers as to what's next. As last semester is my very last semester in school, I have to decide what I want to do for my practicum which will possibly lead me to my first job as a nurse. I've gone back and forth between ER/trauma, OB (midwifery is appealing), community health, and I'm still not sure. I'm praying for wisdom and that the Lord would lead me to exactly where I am supposed to be. I know He will.
Any nurses out there gone through these thought processes? I'd love to hear!