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Patient confirms nursing student's vocation

April 18, 2016

Brandon Broom, a nursing student in the Appalachian State University Beaver College of Health Sciences, found his calling shadowing his aunt at her job as a nurse in one of Charlotte’s larger health care facilities. He discovered the true value of his career choice during his clinicals this spring.

“I knew when I shadowed my aunt that nursing was for me,” the Concord native said. “I got to communicate with people all day, we were always busy and I got to use science to help people.” But it was caring for a special patient during his clinicals that convinced him he had made the perfect career choice.

During clinicals, students work on the floor of  a medical facility under the supervision of their instructors and the facility’s head nurse. On arrival, the student is given his patient duties for the shift. On one particular day, as Broom was checking his patients’ charts, he noted one who was repeatedly combative, who was in restraints and was non-compliant. Broom said the other nurses warned him, “‘Good luck with that guy. He's not going to listen or do anything for you.’ My instructor called me over and said, remember each day we have the opportunity to change a person’s life. We must keep trying.”

True to form, Broom said his patient, an older man, was cursing, asking him to leave and refusing Broom’s help.  All day, Broom said, “every time I went into the room he told me to go away and quit bothering him.” Broom persevered. At the end of the day, Broom said, “as I was washing his face I saw he was crying. He told me I was the first person to truly care for him, that no matter what he did or what he said, I was still trying to care for him.” Broom said the gentleman told him he had been a police officer for more than 25 years. A man who had always been in charge, now was losing control of his body, was afraid of dying, was scared and angry, Broom said. “When he shared how thankful he was that I had stuck with him, I knew this was the right job for me. Each day I have the opportunity to impact someone, to make an important difference.”