Friday, August 28, 2009

RN Central lists yours truly!

I love being an ER nurse...maybe I'm an adrenaline junkie, maybe a little crazy, but emergency care is in my blood. I know a lot of ER nurses who feel the same way. Sometimes it can be a lonely place - no one seems to quite understand our sick sense of humor, or our need to top each other's stories about blood, guts, maggots, or the various other topics uniquely fascinating to us. Nonetheless we love what we do, and intimately know the inalienable truth that no, you have not seen everything. Well, maybe if you work nights...

Anyhoo,, a great site for those considering nursing or are in school for such, featured my little old blog as one of the 50 Best "Life in the ER" blogs! Didn't expect it, but happy to play a part. Click on the link to check it out:

I thought this would be a good time to post a piece I wrote for the Buffalo News in 1996; it describes my philosophy of nursing fairly succinctly:

Nursing is a Ministry, Not Just a Career
By David P. Marciniak

I am often asked by my patients why I chose to become a nurse. Male nurses, while increasing in number, are still a vast minority, and often a curiosity, especially to elderly patients who have been cared for by women their entire lives. "You are a male nurse? Why did you choose that?" they ask, a bit puzzled. The question is usually followed by, "You didn't want to be a doctor?" That question is easy. The former is a little tougher.

I don't feel as though I have ever answered the question adequately. How can one express in a moment or two why a man would choose to leave behind a good job in manufacturing for a job that trades machines for people, maintenance for medicine, and overalls for scrubs? How can one put into words the incredible moments when nurses can directly affect the lives of the sick and suffering with compassionate care? What words could adequately describe the emotional high when one realizes that the skills and knowledge obtained by schooling and experience have been the determining factor in saving the life of a critical patient? Who can express the sublime privilege of being present during the intensely personal moments surrounding the death of a man, woman or child?

I am at a loss in my search for a piquant reply that would satisfy the curiosity of the questioner and my own desire to be eloquent.

From the very start of my education at Sisters Hospital School of Nursing and throughout my career as an ICU, emergency room and medical-surgical nurse, I have believed that nursing is not my job; it is my ministry. I recall Vincent DePaul, Camillus of Lellus, Catherine Laboure, Catherine McCauley and many others, and desire deeply to serve holistically, attending to the physical and spiritual needs of my patient. I marvel at the bravery of the Sisters of Mercy, Daughters of Charity and others who placed their lives on the line serving the injured of the Civil War. I stand humbly in the shadow of the sisters who, in a time dominated by men, brought health care to Western New York and the entire country, operating hospitals that saw the births and deaths of so many of us. These are the heroes I emulate, and hope in some small way to imitate.

I know I am not alone. I have met many other nurses who share my desire to elevate my vocation beyond the ordinary, to a spiritual level. We are not proselytizers or preachers. We are lovers of life and of the one who created it.
Centuries ago, two sisters cried out, "Lord, he whom you love is ill," and implored Jesus to heal Lazarus. In our time, countless men, women and children are calling to God for healing, for an ease to suffering and for comfort in their distress. Nurses today are the hands, feet and heart of the one who can answer the call.

Will this column satisfy my desire to answer the queries about my choice to become a nurse? For now, I suppose. But my practice is ever changing, ever new. With each patient I care for, I become a better nurse, but, more importantly, a better person. I am not perfect -- I have bad days, and I tend to whine a bit. But each day brings a new opportunity to abandon myself and take on the needs of others. That is not something to be taken lightly.

I honor those who have paved the way for me, and honor Sisters Hospital and the Catholic Health System, which encourage and nourish my ministry as a nurse.

(c) 2006 Buffalo News. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

Source: Buffalo News


  1. Great post. I am a former nurse. I left nursing, burned out, years ago, before I had the relationship with God that I have now. I was not even Catholic then. I was a Home health nurse for several years and loved it. I will have to check the UAB Nurses rap now! God bless!

  2. Congrats on being listed in the top 50 blogs. It is always such an honor to be recognized, as it means people actually read and appreciate what we write. Also, great article. Male nurses deserve so much repsect and we (the general folk) greatly appreciate all that you do to keep the world as healthy as it could be.

  3. Great post. Thanks for participating in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


I am always interested and appreciative of your comments and thank you for taking the time. God bless you.