Q & A w/Eric Combs, Nursing Major
Q: When did you first become interested in medicine?
A: Since both my parents work in the medical field, I was ordained from the start. I remember my dad telling me stories of the hospital when I was a kid. He would always have the coolest stories about his day at work, and he never told the same story twice. It always seemed like such a fast-paced and exciting field of work, so I began to consider it for myself from a fairly young age.
As I got older, I became even more interested. I can remember thinking, "Wow, nurses spend their entire lives taking care of others." That was always appealing to me because my parents both taught me that whatever I have been given, including my ability to help others, needs to be shared with the people around me.
Q: What motivates you now toward a career in nursing?
A: Compassion, I guess. Nurses spend their careers sacrificing for their patients and colleagues; they take care of people who aren't able to take care of themselves. Patients may not even be able to extend a simple "thank you," but they can count on a nurse to care for them just the same. The nursing career demands that a patient receive the absolute best and unconditional care that can be offered -- free of bias and judgment.
Caring for people without bias or judgment really appeals to me. Nurses don't always know how patients have become injured or sick. Their job isn't to distribute care to the people who deserve it. The care of a nurse should be available to everyone who needs it. The compassion of a nurse goes beyond differences in heritage, ethnicity, culture, religion, and even language. The love and care that a nurse provides is capable of breaking down all of those barriers that society and culture construct. Patients understand, even if they speak a different language entirely, the care that a nurse provides. That is what makes me come alive -- extending care to others despite any fundamental differences in our way of living.
Q: What else appeals to you regarding a nursing career?
A: The relationships built with other nurses. Fortunately, I've already experienced this as a nursing student. All of the nursing students here are taking the same classes, so we spend the majority of our time learning and practicing our skill with one another. We help one another when needed, and we congratulate each other on our successes. I feel like I have a nursing family here at Truett McConnell.
It seems as though this bond goes beyond classmates, though. I've seen multiple documentaries and interviews, and have spoken with nurses who claim to have a special bond with their colleagues -- one that makes them feel like a family. When a team of people is constantly engaging in sacrifice, compassion, and care for others, it brings them together in a special way.
Q: Is there a spiritual component in the career you seek?
A: Yes. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus speaking over and over about loving others. He says that loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment in conjunction with loving God with all of our being. Jesus illustrated this in a wonderfully inviting way by loving everyone that He came in contact with; and He did so without any bias of social status, history, religion, or career. Jesus loved in a rather terrifyingly inclusive way.
This is one of the most appealing aspects of nursing to me because a nurse's entire career is based on this commandment. Nurses are to heal the sick and love their neighbor as themselves despite where that neighbor has been, what they have done, or what they believe; it's entirely unconditional. Jesus even says that people will know the follower's of God by their love for others. That behavior provides the world with a glimpse of what His Kingdom is like. Loving and providing care for those who need it is a way of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to them.
1 John 1 talks about the Kingdom that has been touched, seen, and heard; that is tangible. I believe that, as a Christian who desires to practice nursing, the care that I provide and the love that I show towards my patients is a way of meeting them in their pain and suffering with a glimpse of God's Kingdom. It's a way of bringing the Kingdom of God to them.
Nursing is a sacred line of work that really solidifies one's faith by their actions. As a Christian nurse, all of the care, healing, and love that has been shown to me must be distributed to those who also need it. This creates a sacred relationship between patients and colleagues that I would love to spend my life developing. I'm interested to see how my own faith is tried, grown, and maybe even broken at times during my nursing career, but always resurrected and healed so that I may share that healing with the patients who need it.