You can’t teach an old dog new tricks


Quit: 1. To leave, abandon, forsake or relinquish. 2. To give up.

“Though you stumble and fall, you’re not down for long; for God grasps your hand in support and upholds you.” (Psalm 37:24)

Apparently you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! I should know! [Yes, I just called myself an “old dog”!] And yes, I confirm that it is hard to learn new things.

Yesterday, somewhere in the middle of trying to get my head around Wenkebach, Purkinje fibers, SA nodes, Mobitz Type 1, ‘p’ and ‘t’ waves, bigemeny, CO=SVxHR, Torsades de Ponts, action potentials, PVC’s and refractory periods, I hit cardiac standstill. Over and out. Done. Finished. Asystole.

By the end of the day I felt as though there was a complete absence of any significant electrical impulses anywhere in my body! I had hit overload. And I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit.

And I had only just started! And I knew what was still ahead.

Just two weeks into my new job in the Intensive Care Unit and I’m feeling like this old dog should be home lying in the sun dreaming of chasing bones instead of running around and wagging my tail every time someone looks in my direction. Hoping to impress them. Hoping to please them. Hoping to do the right thing. Hoping to succeed.

Hoping to be able to “make it” as an ICU nurse.

But feeling so inadequate. Feeling so old. Feeling so under-prepared. Feeling worried about the rookie mistakes I’m making. Feeling lost. Feeling like I’m just holding my head above the water. Feeling like… I.Really.Can’t.Do.This.

I’ve been called many things and been described in many different ways over the years but being called a “quitter” is not often on that list.

Yesterday it was #1 on my list of Things To Do.

Give up.


Abandon the course.

Forsake all future opportunities.

Relinquish my job.


But instead I reached out to my friends and I said “Help me! I’m discouraged. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this. I feel as though I’m stumbling and rushing headfirst downhill ready to face plant and be ridiculed by my peers for my lack of knowledge and skills. I want to give up.”

And God, through my friends, reached out, grasped me by the hand and lifted me back up with words of encouragement and support. (Thankfully God’s gifts come wrapped in people – people I’m so blessed to have in my life.) 

They said:

“What God brings you to He will bring you through. He gave you this job, so remember that He is right there with you every moment you are in the ICU. Draw upon His strength, relax and ask God for wisdom and direction each time you go to care for a patient.”

“The enemy is messing with your head!!! So we are surrounding you with a circle of protection to keep him from destroying your peace. You are answering God’s call, Nicki! And the enemy doesn’t like that one little bit! He’s just trying to undermine your success. And we won’t let him!”

“God is not a God of confusion but satan loves to confuse and bring doubts. Remember God is in control and it is His “approval” you should seek. Work as if working for the Lord. Love God and your patients…He will take care of the rest.”

The moral of the story is (thanks Donna Bostick, Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh for reminding me): reach out to your friends and they will tell you that you are “braver than you believe; and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

So I’m not going to give up and I’m not going to quit. Because this dog’s got some new tricks to learn!

If you are joining me from Tell His Story, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you visit again soon.


18 thoughts on “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

  1. You go girl! God has you covered, Jesus is cheering you on, His Holy Spirit is always with you and a heavenly host surround you to hold you up, protect and encourage. And then there’s us – praying and standing in the gap.

    Love you girl! ❤

  2. I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of pressure that comes with your job. But I can imagine how and why God would want His people in that job…to comfort with the true Comfort. Praying you settle in quickly.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I loved when you said: “(Thankfully God’s gifts come wrapped in people – people I’m so blessed to have in my life.) ” I’m so glad you had friends to reach out to when wanting to quit. I want to be there for my friends in the same way.

    Sometimes you just need to hear someone say, “You can do it.”

  4. Nicki, you are such an amazing role model to me. You do realize that is takes trust to reach out to others. It takes trust to keep going and not give in. You trust is in Your God and in those He has called to come along side you to help and encourage you this journey though the tough world of ICU – a place where a woman of God is desperately needed. I just want you to know I love you.

  5. Sweet friend, you bless us by trusting us share your burden! Truthfully tho, you are the only one who has any doubts about your ability to fulfill this calling. We all know you are gonna ‘ace’ this! Not without struggles, challenges, and questioning, but don’t forget those times when a scared, hurting someone says to you with a shaky voice, “Thank you for caring about me, and for me.” God’s putting you in place to be His touch, and I know you will share His grace with those you serve. Love you, girl!

  6. Nicki,
    Enjoyed your post and can so relate! I graduated in 2008 with my ADN (at 50 yrs old) and then began my internship in ICU. I remained in ICU for 2-1/2 yrs and learned to abide in Jesus more than ever. ICU provides some of the most life-transforming opportunities for a believer. I now work for hospice and this too has been another stretching experience bringing me ever nearer to God’s heart. Praying you know the embrace of Jesus every step of the way and hear Him directing you moment to moment as you deliver care and interact with patients and coworkers. One thing that has helped me as a nurse is to remember that I am part of a TEAM!! The Lord’s blessings on you and your practice!!!

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