Meet Carly Paquin, Nurse & Friend in the Fight

by Carly Paquin
Meet Carly Paquin, Nurse & Friend in the Fight

My name is Carly Paquin. I grew up in RI, which is how I met Emily. We played field hockey together in high school, and we have been best friends since! 

After high school, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and apply to colleges where I wouldn’t know anyone; a fresh start in a way. I realized that there are only a handful of times in our lives where we can pick up everything and just leave; so I did it! Every new experience, though, brings new realizations, hardships, and obstacles…and I had a handful of them. What I have learned, though, is to learn to embrace them and use what I have learned to grow and become the woman I want to become. 

I decided on James Madison University for no reason other than the fact that I loved the beautiful and large campus, and that it was far from home.

Nursing wasn’t even a thought of mine when I applied to colleges; I didn’t even know what nurses did. At this point in my life, I didn’t have any personal experiences with hospitals, doctors, nurses, or anything of the sort. I had no idea what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” so when I had to pick a major for orientation day I struggled. I was between business management and nursing, and I ultimately went with nursing for no reason other than the fact that I had no idea what to pick. Looking back, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

During my years in nursing school, I became my grandmother’s caregiver whenever I came home from school for breaks. I truly enjoyed being her advocate while taking care of her in her most vulnerable times; driving her to appointments, picking up her meds, or simply just hanging out over coffee and laughs. I didn’t realize how much of an impact she had on me until the day she passed. The last thing she said to me was thank you for everything I had done for her, and how proud she was of me and of the woman I was becoming. I think she is a large part of me sticking with nursing (there were certainly days in nursing school when i wanted to drop everything and quit) because of realizing the impact I had on her, and her willingness to continue to fight when she knew she had someone by her side. I wanted to be able to put a little bit of positivity into someone else’s bad day.

A few years later, I graduated from James Madison University’s nursing program. I told myself that I would be that nurse showing patients and their families that there is still hope, and to keep fighting.

I have been a Registered Nurse for 3 years now. I worked on a neurology acute care floor at The University of Virginia Medical Center for 2 years, and I currently work in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Every day as a nurse is unpredictable; in terms of our patients, their outcomes, and the relationships that we will build throughout the 12 hours we are there. I often leave work thinking through my day; the good and the bad. We will forget the stressful and exhausting days, but what I do seem to remember is what my patients teach me. I like to think that my patients will learn from me and what I teach them, but what I do know is that dealing with patients on a daily basis has taught me many life skills that I try to take home with me. 

  1. One of the biggest things that I have seen working in a Boston city hospital is to live your life because you truly do not know what is on the agenda for the next day.
  2. Another big piece of learning is – don’t take anything for granted. This may be a little off subject, but I think it has some relation to the point of taking things for granted. I am actually currently on short-term disability for 3 months and unable to work due to a hand injury. Going through all of this, being a patient myself, has taught me a lot about the things my patients go through, being unable to do things on their own and requiring assistance to do even the smallest of things that we would typically take for granted.
  3. Don’t stress over the little things. Some of my happiest patients are those that don’t have anything because they are appreciative of the little things. I often have to take a step back and think to myself things like, “Did I really spend all that time yesterday annoyed that my online order from Amazon is late??” or “Am I really being this impatient about my Uber driver is stuck in traffic?”

Carly will be contributing three pieces on life as an RN to our Friends in the Fight Community. Tune back in later in the month for more from Carly!

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