Do I Love Nursing? What Day is it?
There have been many threads recently on AN along the lines of nursing: love it or hate it. I think about this often, and have realized that my responses to these threads are colored by the events of the day. So, here is a true account of how I feel about nursing, for anyone who is interested.
Do I love nursing? What day is it?
There are days when nothing seems to go right. Every teacher is mad because I won’t send a kid home that, in their “medical” opinion, needs not to be in their class. Every parent is mad because I am asking for a doctor’s note to re-admit their child who has symptoms of strep, or pink eye, or whatever contagious disease du jour. Every administrator wants my help with Project A or wants me to babysit student X, and I have two reports due this week and one that is already late. These are the days that every frequent flyer to the nurse’s office decides, as if in unison, that he or she is “sick”. These are the days that the Pre-K teacher discovers lice crawling on the heads of at least two of her students. These are the days I fantasize about a boring, low paying, and low responsibility office job like the ones of my past. Or about changing professions altogether (you know, Vet school is not really all THAT much money, is it?)
These are also the days that I reflect on the problems that the profession of nursing faces, and wonder if they will ever be solved. I remember vividly why I left the hospital setting for school nursing, and I think about my brothers and sisters in the struggle who are still there. I think about the impossible paperwork, the impossible staffing ratios, and the impossible goal of perfection. I remember the loneliness of working nights while the rest of the world sleeps, and the sadness I felt then I would arrive home ready to drop just as my husband was leaving for work. Two ships passing in the night.
Then I think about some of the poignant stories I read on All Nurses. I remember the new grads who feel they are being served for dinner to the more experienced nurses, and I remember feeling just like them. I think about the new grads who cannot find jobs in this economy, while the rest of the country still seems to think there is a nursing shortage. I think about those nurses who have been scapegoated by co-workers or administrations. I remember the nurses who are devastated because of an error they made, which in reality is more of a system error than an individual weakness. Regardless, the nurse takes the blame. All these stories and more color my perception nursing on these such days.
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Then, there are the days that are good. Something a child says touches my heart or tickles my funnybone. A teacher, parent, or administrator tells me thank you, and I know they mean it. The student who I have been trying to get an eye exam for months dances into my office to show off her cute new glasses. I get a hug. I get a smile. I leave work knowing that I made a difference in the life of at least one child.
On these days, I remember vividly why I left the ho-hum world of office work, and I cannot imagine ever returning to that. In all honesty, I still feel the faint tug of Vet school, but it is suppressed (for now at least ). I feel uplifted on these days, thankful for my blessings and loving my work and my career.
I still think about the stories I read on AN even on these good days. However, on the good days, I think about empowering nurses to do something to improve our collective situation. No one who accepts the status quo can change it. I am encouraged by stories of nurses standing up for one another. I think of the stories of leadership and I am proud to be in the same ranks as these phenomenal nurses. I think about the funny stories and marvel at how we can keep our collective sense of humor in the most trying of times. I am optimistic about where nursing is headed and I can’t wait to be a part of the revolution.
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So, how do I feel about nursing? Well, today is Friday, that always helps!Last edit by Joe V on May 20, '09
About Purple_Scrubs, BSN
Purple_Scrubs has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'School Nursing'. From 'Dallas-Fort Worth'; 39 Years Old; Joined Dec '08; Posts: 2,206; Likes: 3,601.May 15, '09Oh how I empathize! I work in a school system that educates aproximately 16,000 students. The clinics are staffed with health care assistants (we all are certified MA, EMT, or paramedic) who are supervised by ONE super-human RN. My school has 741 students. Yes, teachers try to tell me how to treat students. Parents yell out me when they send in an inhaler with the label torn off and I explain I cannot administer the medication. Frequent flyers cough in my face to prove they are sick. The principal says I am too rigid in following rules and protocol (well, yeah!!!!). Immunizations need to be entered into the computer and non-compliant students tracked. Then I leave for my night classes (I'm working towards my RN).
I'm like you - I love my job on Friday (especially at 2:30!), but don't ask me Monday morning.May 15, '09This is so accurate. For me, it's not only about the day, it's about the time. 5:00 A.M., upon rising, I hate my job. I hate nursing. 7:00 A.M feeling pretty good, then 10:00 A.M., getting tired. 2:00 P.M., ticked off, hungry and gotta pee, 5:00 P.M. feeling really emotional and happy over seeing a patient leave with their family who I thought would be going out in a body bag. Really love my job at this point. 7:00 P.M, I really really REALLY Hate nursing and can't wait to go home. (that might be due to getting two admissions at 6:00 P.M. and have two other IV's to start.)May 15, '09Thank you, thank you, thank you, purple!...What a great article that sums it up for all nurse of every field...Although I am not a school nurse, as a matter of fact, I am a "new" nurse (just about a year and ooooooh what a year!)working in a hospital setting and I am on my second hospital, inpatient RN job...Long story short, first job wasn't glamorous (not that I was look for glamorous), as a matter of fact it was an extremely UNSAFE environment...I hear and know what you mean about these "days"...The good, bad, and the ugly...What keeps me going are the GREAT days...Those days when you have literally saved a life, a future, or a view point!...These days are very much so in the minority (lucky if you get one a month)but make all my efforts in life worht it. Like, changing careers (because I was inspired by nurses and their dedication to my critically ill daughter's prognosis) , precious TIME (away from my family and kids), worry (about everything and anything) , and dedication so, so, sooooo worth it!...I am glad I am not the only one that feels this way...Sometimes I honestly feel that "only" a nurse can understand this view and appreciation..Thanks again for your thoughts and views..Touched me and showed me I am not alone in this field.May 17, '09I loved this article, it says it all. Makes me feel I'm not alone and not to feel guilty that somedays I think what am I doing.May 17, '09Hey, I really know how you feel. I have been a nurse for 13 years and even though the moves have been all to further my career, I have had 6 different employers and have had many days wondering if I had fallen out of love with nursing. The diversity is wonderful when needing a change. Sometimes it is easy to be jealous of the longtimers in certain specialty areas though. Looking to change from OR to Flight Nurse f my experience and training are enough. Any advice?May 21, '09I looked up this site because I am at a stage in my life when I NEED to do something more rewarding and fulfilling and have been thinking about nursing. Thank you for this article...however, I would love to hear more input from nurses before I make the big decision on what to spend the next 3 years of my life studying. My last child will leave school this year and I have been a stay-at-home mum since starting a family! I am now 46. Am I too old to start now? What are the disadvantages of being my age and going into it now? I am looking for ALL the bad points and good points that could help me in my decision. I realise this is not an advice forum but where else to get the best information than from the hands-on people themselves! Please, please give me some input as I must make a decision soon! Thank you very much!May 21, '09Wonderful, Wonderful.....you hit the nail on the head! What a great post.....thank you. I am just now getting ready for bed to go to work on Friday...my Monday. I work weekends only so I live for Monday. You have made it easier to think about getting up in the morning.May 22, '09:wink2: I started nursing school when I was 47. It took 4 years to finish a 2 year ADN because of waiting lists, graduated near the top of my class, got a job in a small hospital not too far from home and have been working med-surg since then. I felt it was easier for me than for some of the "kids" in my class who had little kids and a job that were also in school full time. When I got home from school, I could do what I needed to without worrying about my kids' schedules. So it turned out to be a good time for me to go to school.
I did find myself telling my own kids and grandkids on some occasions that I needed to study or write a paper so they couldn't come that day, but it didn't happen real often, and my grown up kids were very understanding.
It takes dedication and hard work, but it certainly can be done. I won't lie and say I love everything about nursing, but it is a career that is rewarding financially and emotionally. It is stressful and there are days I joke about working at Walmart instead, but I am glad I got into the field.
Good luck to you as you contemplate your future.May 22, '09Thanks everyone for the feedback! Somehow writing is therapeutic and since expressing these feelings, I have been having many more good days than bad, even Mondays!
Veeh, there were several people in my nursing class in their mid-forties (it was an accelerated program for people with a non-nursing bachelor's already). There is lots of information on this forum, and you will see the good and bad of nursing if you browse around the general and student forums. Keep in mind that this is a place where people feel safe to vent, so don't let all the negative posts get you down on nursing. There are definitely struggles, but it is a great field to be in! Good luck!
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