Volume 4 Number 1
01 January 1991
Now she is in her final year of training, working on a cardiology ward with 30 beds. The patients are critically ill and deaths are frequent.
My friends thought I was mad to become a nurse,' Sue Faber recalls. Now she is in her final year of training, working on a cardiology ward with 30 beds. The patients are critically ill and deaths are frequent. It can be depressing; it's certainly demanding. But she has never regretted her decision.
As a schoolgirl, Sue always had great dreams for her future. `I wanted to be a dancer - someone beautiful on a stage whom people would admire. I wasn't good enough to be a dancer. And I wasn't bright enough to go to university - I wasn't anything special at all.'
She left school in 1984 with no idea what to do.
Then a friend gave her a copy of her recently published book. It was the story of a girl who longed to be special. But her outlook changed when a donkey - ,not a beautiful dancing stallion but a plain old donkey' - told her how Christ had chosen him to carry him into Jerusalem.
`The girl could have been me,' says Sue Faber. `I felt Christ calling me to be one of his disciples, plain and ordinary as I was. It was an incredibly powerful moment. The dreams I had for myself were replaced with a desire to love God, and to love people.'
For the next three years she did voluntary work. Though still unclear what to do with her life, she felt at peace.
Then she took to 'temping'. She found herself earning good money but loathing office life as 'unfulfilling'.
In this frame of mind, she went to stay with a friend who enthused about the nursing course she had started. `She seemed so happy and peaceful that it inspired me to give it a go,' says Sue Faber.
You don't need to ask her whether she feels she made the right choice. Despite her quiet manner she conveys certainty that she has found her vocation. She talks of the emotional drain of having to tell someone that their partner of 60 years has died. She mentions the `lousy' pay; the long hours and the understaffing. She talks of coming home tired out. But she also tells of what she has been given by patients who bravely bear suffering; the joy that comes as you `give your heart' to people; and of the satisfaction of trying to do the best job that you can - though, she adds, she has to decide afresh every day to live for others and not herself.
`Nursing is far from the glamorous dreams I had,' she says, but she sees it as a fulfilment of her call to be a disciple. `Loving God means loving people, and nursing is all about meeting human need, as Christ did.'