Things to remember about nursing

This summer, I came away from my MICU contract with a renewed understanding of why I have this love-hate relationship with nursing. And I’ve summed it up in 6 simple points so when I’m ready to pick up another contract I can remember what to expect, even if months and months of super intense child rearing washes it all out of my head.

So here goes. The love part…

  1. It’s the feeling you get after the shift that is so great. You made it. You got through this grueling, back breaking, nerve wracking day. It’s a feeling of accomplishment.
  2. It’s the social interaction. The camaraderie. There is definitely a bond there among nurses. No matter how different a fellow nurse is from you they know exactly what it is that you go through. And for many of us, you can’t say the same thing about your family, your spouse, or your best friend.
  3. Then there’s just the joy of knowing a difficult job really, really well. Being able to field any curve ball that comes your way in an extremely fast paced environment. Not to mention the fact that people could die if you don’t do the right thing. While that may sound like an enormous amount of pressure, it’s also a great source of pride to know that you can handle that.

And the hate part…

  1. Night shift – Love, love, love the people who work night shift. But I hate the fact that switching from days to nights makes me feel like a human slug.
  2. Lower back pain. No need to elaborate here.
  3. Cleaning up stool. Sorry. it sucks no matter how you slice it. Some will say “Oh it doesn’t bother me at all! You get used to it.” Bullshit. You have 2 ICU patients, each stooling 3-4 times during the night in a 12 hour shift. You do the math. That means you are potentially up to your elbows in shit Q 2 hrs. AND trying to get the rest of your work done.






7 responses to “Things to remember about nursing”

  1. RehabRN Avatar

    Yes, I know about the stool thing–it’s a big deal in rehab. I choose to overlook it. If I didn’t, my life would be a wreck.Totally agree with the back pain…I’m having it even if I’m not heaving people around.I could be turning into a slug sitting in front of my computer, so I just view the running and jumping of rehab as a diet plan. So far, it’s worked well.

  2. Phil Baumann Avatar
    Phil Baumann
  3. Phil Baumann Avatar
    Phil Baumann

    You know, these two lists are exactly how I felt when I was bedside. It’s such an odd thing: to be totally in the flow of your work, tumbling through the random challenges that come your way and leaving with a sense of accomplishment.But that’s all inter-meshed with the unnecessary stresses that come with the work: the lack of support from management, the insane ratios, the inefficient work-flows and – yes – the sewage treatment. I’m now re-considering going back: I miss the action but I dread the drain. If only our health care facilities had all the right resources. Even then, a struggle.

  4. spudpatch Avatar

    Thank you!

  5. Don Halley Avatar
    Don Halley

    And yet, I’ll bet you pick up after your dog with no complaints. Or clean the goldfish bowl. Or change a baby’s diaper. You naturally think it’s important to feed your patients, so you have to see how important it is to deal with the byproduct of doing so. This is such a hard time for these people and you are doing them such a huge service. No, it’s not all glamorous and TV-worthy, and yet you have to deal with it all. Nurses are definitely on my list of all-time heros. Thank you very much for what you do.

  6. Sean Dent Avatar
    Sean Dent

    Strong Work!! I love the list. And every nurse would agree. By the way.. lovin your migration to Posterous!

  7. NNR Avatar

    It seems to be the consensus over at my WordPress blog that nursing is intrinsically a love-hate profession!