How has nursing changed you?

  1. How has nursing changed you?

    Nursing is a job but I believe it undoubtedly has an effect on our relationship to others.

    I believe that our personalities have tendencies, and nursing can either be catalytic or inhibitive.

    These are the following ways nursing has changed me.

    1. My interpersonal relationships with others, sometimes I find it hard to relate with non-nurses. Even other healthcare professionals such as RTs or MDs will never understand our struggle. Nursing is unique, and it's a lovely experience to relate to a fellow nurse. I've been maturing past this and making friends outside my Nurse circle. I've even gone on dates with guys that work in ..... accounting firms or the dreaded cubicle. :GASP:


    2. I'm just not a fan of people. I'm not an introvert. Don't get me wrong. I'm extroverted! I'm outgoing and friendly, in general. However something about the thought of humanity upsets me. Nursing has caused me to lose faith in humanity. I have witnessed people at their worst, in survival mode and the truth and the raw aspects of our human nature can have an effect on how we perceive the world. It also doesn't help when we live in a world that is less and less courteous. No one holds the door anymore, people don't give you the right of way exiting a parking lot into a busy street, and people act as if everything is a competition.


    3. Sometimes, I think or perceive that others may perceive me as emotionally stunted in terms of tragedies or deaths. It's difficult at times to exit the clinical, sterile, and logical mindset. Don't get me wrong, I'm an emotional person but my perception of tragic carries a more calm reaction. A methodical approach. This is the ICU Nurse within me. I do have my triggers and exceptions, where the methodology flies out the window of course.


    4. I care less, I care less about the little things. I've become relaxed about things. I'm not irresponsible but I've honestly just become less apprehensive about things like bills, deadlines, and chores. Whatever gets done, will get done. Life is short, let us stress less. I'm still a type A at work though. That won't go away anytime soon. I like my rooms spotless and my lines labeled!

    How has nursing changed you?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   NightNerd
    I have experienced similar transformations, I think.

    1) I am definitely less of a fan of people now. My work has shown me many tender moments, and I have met some lovely people through it; however, we tend to meet people at their worst, and it's a little demoralizing sometimes. I am more suspicious and less trusting. I don't always see the best in people anymore. It's a huge downer.

    2) I am not very shy anymore, and have gained a lot of confidence. I am still a 100% introvert, but small talk comes easier to me now. I guess when you have to ask five people if they've pooped that day, all other conversation comes a little more naturally after that. I still get a little nervous in new clinical situations, but I'm leaning to rely on myself and my knowledge more, so it's easier to get myself through without needing to ask for help as often.

    3) I am that much more grateful for my health! I definitely still could stand to work on my sweet tooth, but I am now much more likely to exercise and at least try to eat a balanced meal most days of the week. Some health problems cannot be avoided, but a lot can, so I'm going to take good care of this body while I've got it.

    4) I do think I'm more compassionate now, despite having vey little faith in much of humanity. People have been through some crazy stuff! I've taken care of a lot of people I genuinely dislike, but I'm finding it much easier now to respect them and exhibit real kindness to them, knowing that no one gets through this life unscarred by something.

    5) I fear for my physical safety more. Maybe it's the population I work with, but I am SICK and TIRED of going out every day wondering if I'm going to get beaten up. I bet if I'd gotten my English degree and become a copy editor like I wanted to in high school, I wouldn't be preoccupied by this.

    6) I didn't think I could get any more pale than I used to be. I was wrong. Night shift has made me almost translucent. It's amazing.
  4. by   daytoday
    I love this question, I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

    1) I get s*** done. I am extremely productive. I'm actually kind of obsessed with getting as much as possible done in as little time as possible, and I get frustrated when other people don't extract information, plan projects, or even converse in that way. My spouse tried to explain the circumstances surrounding his headache at dinner to his family and I just couldn't sit through hearing the situation described, questions asked, interventions offered- so I broke it down in one rapid-fire 60 second report, and my husband's family looked at me like I was crazy. This is new; I did not used to be so obsessed with productivity and efficiency: time management at its finest.

    2) I also am more acutely aware of safety issues and danger, as I think someone else mentioned. My heightened situational awareness has made me wonder how I ever survived my twenties. It has also made me want to stay home A LOT in my time off.

    3) I have a nicer home and car. When your secondary family income > your primary, this can happen. Nursing generally pays us for our suffering, which is nice.

    4) I am more withdrawn, and more alienated from loved ones. I crave alone time, silence, peace. I'm not sure if this has to do with having children or becoming a nurse, as both happened at the same time for me.

    5) I am much more confident and assertive. I already had those qualities, but they have really been honed. I consider that a huge positive.
  5. by   Karrony
    The biggest one for me is how much more assertive and confident I've become, like others have said. I was so shy & meek when I first started nursing school that, if I ever met my past self, I'd get angry! Granted, despite how assertive I can be, I'll still never win an argument with that elderly aggressive psych patient. EVER.

    I also noticed I like being alone more often, but only with certain people. I love chatting with my friends who are also nurses because we can both vent, and we'll understand the troubles we're talking about. If I'm with non-nurse family or friends though, I often withdraw myself because I feel they quickly dismiss my concerns/vents about my work as me just being cranky or tired. It's happened before. They always ask about work, and ask me odd questions, so I always hope work-related questions never come up when I'm around them. It's too bad.
  6. by   Zyprexa
    1) I worry for my safety all the time. The patients I work with are all over the place, and many live near me. While most "actual psych patients" are not violent in my experience, the drug addicts we take care of are verbally and physically aggressive (with legal charges for assault/restraining orders). I'm constantly looking over my shoulder where ever I go, fearing I'll be attacked. I often dislike going out, because I'm afraid I'll encounter a former patient. I also call family members at random times to check up on them.

    2) I've lost compassion for most people, I see the worst in people now, and yes, I too have lost faith in humanity. It's only when I'm NOT at work that I realize there is still good in this world. I've become a bitter, angry, ranting person.

    3) I dislike small talk more than ever, and most of the time I don't even want to see people because work has drained me so much. I just want to lie around and watch Netflix all day.

    I don't like who nursing has made me, or rather...what I've become from being a nurse. Not someone I'd be proud of.
  7. by   CardiacDork
    I can relate with all the above responses in combined ways.

    While I have become a more confident and assertive person, because people annoy me and I don't want to deal with people on my days I usually keep to myself. I'm a Netflix junkie.

    At the same time, I've learned to be a more compassionate person... even when I'm annoyed beyond belief. It does take effort. And I've learned that's OK. Im not an angel or a saint. Im human.

    Zyprexa, I too have become a person that tends to rant. Particularly about the stupidity and selfishness of people which work has shown me to be rather common.


    Overall I see commonalities and overlapping characteristics. It's actually comforting, my fellow nurses!
    Last edit by CardiacDork on Oct 6
  8. by   Davey Do
    Quote from CardiacDork
    I can relate with all the above responses in combined ways.

    Overall I see commonalities and overlapping characteristics. It's actually comforting, my fellow nurses!
    As can I.

    However, I don't believe that nursing has changed me. I believe our reactions are a natural progression of a predisposed genetic template to a given stimulus.

    It's like Richard Bach wrote, "Every person, all the events of your life are there because you've drawn them there". We chose nursing because our higher selves were drawn to an area where we could most grow and develop; where we could attain a higher consciousness.

    A higher conscious is attained through trials, tribulations and subsequent illuminating revelations.

    So there.
  9. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from Davey Do
    As can I.

    However, I don't believe that nursing has changed me. I believe our reactions are a natural progression of a predisposed genetic template to a given stimulus.

    It's like Richard Bach wrote, "Every person, all the events of your life are there because you've drawn them there". We chose nursing because our higher selves were drawn to an area where we could most grow and develop; where we could attain a higher consciousness.

    A higher conscious is attained through trials, tribulations and subsequent illuminating revelations.

    So there.
    Makes sense. I can agree with this.
  10. by   dream'n
    I agree with the other posters. I need my quiet alone time much more now. I think it's because in nursing, people always need something of you. It's the nature of the profession, but it can be draining to give, give, and then give some more. There are times that it is hard to give anymore of myself to family and friends.

    I think I'm grumpier too, but it could be my aging

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