To all my fellow nurses, Happy Nurse’s week. For those of you who have been touched by a nurse, tell them how much you appreciate them. Nurses are, by nature, very caring individuals. The reason we go into nursing is because we care. We want to take care of people. I’ve heard many people over the years say many things about nurses both good and bad, but believe me, we all started our careers caring. We still care and it’s not about our paycheck that keeps up going to work.
To be a nurse, it has been shown that nursing school is one of the most grueling majors in higher education. I can certainly vouch for that! It may have been 20 years since I graduated, but let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I studied all the time. I did the eat, sleep, breathe method of studying and anyone who knew me in those years could tell you that’s exactly what I did. I had no social life because I had a goal. I wanted to be the best nurse I could be. I got very good grades and I should have with how hard I studied. It’s a very rigorous program! Let’s not forget that once you graduate, you get to pay your state money to take your state boards! Yes, the dreaded, stressful NCLEX examination from hell! I remember taking it and coming back to my mom’s and telling her I failed. I just knew I did, but I didn’t fail. I passed first try. Thank God! The joy of passing was so overwhelming I can’t compare it to anything other than giving birth to your first child!
As I say, I’ve been an RN for 20 years. I was a CNA before that so nursing has been what I’ve done for 29 years, since I graduated high school. My first clinical was when I was 17. Since then, I have seen so much. I have done so much. I have worked in nursing homes and loved and lost residents. I have comforted families. I have worked in the hospital in many different departments. I have been part of codes (when you are called to perform CPR on someone in the hospital. I’ve lost patients. I’ve comforted patients and families through difficult times. I’ve worked in home health. I worked in home health some more. Now, I’m working in a clinic setting for the first time. I suppose you could say I’ve done it all. I love being a nurse. I still love caring for people. Sometimes though, being a nurse is the hardest job in the world. It isn’t just about caring for patients or families. It’s so much more than that. It’s pleasing everyone.
I have been asked to wear many hats in my career as any nurse has. We are always having to do more with less time and resources. It’s just a sign of our times. Not a particularly good thing if you ask any of us, but as healthcare changes, so must we. Sometimes we get burned out too. It’s a good nurse that can recognize that she is burned out and needs to change. The great thing about nursing though, is that you can always find something that is different and challenging to keep your mind and skills fresh. If you want to slow down, you can switch hours or work per diem. Nursing is evolving too. In my new role as a clinic nurse, I am challenged because although my hours are varied (I choose the days I’m available because I work per diem), I work in a float pool and need to know which doctor I’m working for that day. I have to know how they like things and how their nurse runs things. I like a good challenge and eventually I hope to be good at this. The downside to this is that I have no permanent home in the clinic, but that is okay, too.
What has being a nurse taught me? I am able to do just about anything I put my mind to. If I believe in myself, I can do it. I even can paint a picture. It may not be the best picture, but hey, I put it on my wall. And I did it myself. I have faced challenging patients and families along the way. I have faced challenging doctors on this journey too. One such doctor had me in tears many years ago. I was fresh out of hospital orientation and still in report. The medication had just come up from pharmacy and this doctor was known for being a pistol. She had a reputation for giving the new nurses a hard time. The IV med was sitting on the medication cart because the day shift nurse brought it in and left it there for me so that I could hang it when I got out of report. The doctor came into our med/report room and ripped me up one side and down the other because I hadn’t administered this medication yet. I wasn’t given the option to explain. I was so upset and then the tears came. It was awful. Many years later, I had learned that all that was needed with this particular doctor was to stand my ground and stand up to her. I had done that on one particular day and she had never given me another bit of mouthy guff again. She could actually be a nice person, sometimes.
I can tell you that with all that nurses go through in their average day, the best part is actual patient care. I personally love caring for people. I have enjoyed all these years of meeting the many who have been entrusted in my care. I have to say it has been a true blessing to be a part of their lives when things are just not going well. I always make it a goal of mine to make people smile. If I’ve made you smile, I’ve done a good job. Happy Nurse’s Day and Week to all my nursing friends. Reach out and hug a nurse and tell them you love them.
P.S. Most nurses like hugs.