How has nursing changed you?

  1. I definitely don't feel like the same person I was, years ago, before I started going to nursing school and working in healthcare. How has nursing changed you?
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  2. 111 Comments

  3. by   EGspirit
    I'm not surprised you don't feel like the same person. The nurse at whatever level (PCT, CNA, LPN, RN) does earn a living, but they are in a vocation of service to earn that living, and that vocation of service--dare I say it: compassion and caring--changes a person. It's supposed to. It's why God called you to it--to change you.

    Now, I realize that it may be that you feel jaded. That as bad as you thought people could be, you've learned that they are a whole lot worse. But you are becoming something: You are becoming a love that is big enough to take in all evil. And that changes you.

    And by love, I don't mean something abstract, but rather the concrete empathy and kindness that you can give--even though your job description doesn't require it. It glows in the tiny extra things that you do. And that love changes you. It changes you now, and it changes what you will be in the hereafter. Don't ever doubt that, and no matter how cynical or skeptical you feel, always hold on to the faith that you are changing for the better, because it is true.

    I recognized my change when I had a patient in ICU that was dying. He was no longer responsive, on a vent, four different IV's, TPN, and in MODS. His family was flying in and would arrive in a couple of hours.

    So, I closed his door; I cleaned his room, and I whispered into his ear: "You may not be here much longer, but you will look presentable and respectable for your family. I will not let you be seen without your dignity and honor. You must endure this for them. We are men; we put our faith in God."

    Then I gave him a complete and thorough bed bath and peri-care. Changed all his linen for some crisp new linen. I shaved him, washed and combed his hair, straightened all his IV tubing, and made things look orderly. I folded his sheet over the top of his blanket and tucked him in without a crease. I hid his foley bag. Everything was neat and clean and in order. And he was lying there peacefully, looking sharp and ready for the next world.

    I don't know if he heard me when I spoke to him. But he looked respectable and clean, practically military, when his family arrived.

    He was my patient, and I was his nurse. I gave him my self-respect, my dignity that he could not do for himself. I loved him as I loved myself, and that changed me in that moment.

    Some nurses in here will understand what I'm talking about. Others will judge me for it. But that's my long answer to your question. Thank you for asking it.
    Last edit by EGspirit on Feb 3
  4. by   vanilla bean
    Quote from EGspirit
    So, I closed his door; I cleaned his room, and I whispered into his ear: "You may not be here much longer, but you will look presentable and respectable for your family. I will not let you be seen without your dignity and honor. You must endure this for them. We are men; we put our faith in God."
    I cannot even begin to express to you how distressed this would have made me if I was your patient. I don't share your religious beliefs and if you had proselytized to me when I was in such a vulnerable state, you would have made my final moments on this earth some of the most upsetting and anxiety provoking of my life. I hope, for your patient's sake, that he did share your beliefs and found comfort in your words, but I also hope you come to realize that not everyone does and it's not your place to impose on them without their consent.
  5. by   NurseCard
    It's hard to say whether or not nursing really changed me, because I
    also became a mother during nursing school. I mean, just as I was about
    to earn my RN and graduate nursing school, I also had my daughter.

    Becoming a parent changes a person immensely, but I have no doubt
    that becoming a nurse changes you as well... depending on what area
    of nursing that you go into. How could experiencing the death of one
    or more patients, performing intense hands on care to many persons
    not related to you... caring for people who are often at their absolute
    worst... bringing new babies into the world... helping very sick babies
    to heal... comforting families who have lost a loved one...

    how could those things not change a person, at least a little bit?
  6. by   K+MgSO4
    We change as we age and life gives us curveballs. Our experience both in our job and outside it changes us. Am I the same person I was when I was a fresh faced first year student nurse at 17? I hope not....
  7. by   macawake
    Quote from EGspirit
    I'm not surprised you don't feel like the same person. The nurse at whatever level (PCT, CNA, LPN, RN) does earn a living, but they are in a vocation of service to earn that living, and that vocation of service--dare I say it: compassion and caring--changes a person. It's supposed to. It's why God called you to it--to change you.
    God didn't call me to nursing. He might have called you, but it's presumptious and arrogant of you to assume that your own personal experiences are generalizable to OP, me, other posters in this thread as well as the entire global nursing population.
    Quote from EGspirit
    I recognized my change when I had a patient in ICU that was dying. He was no longer responsive, on a vent, four different IV's, TPN, and in MODS. His family was flying in and would arrive in a couple of hours.
    Quote from EGspirit
    So, I closed his door; I cleaned his room, and I whispered into his ear: "You may not be here much longer, but you will look presentable and respectable for your family. I will not let you be seen without your dignity and honor. You must endure this for them. We are men; we put our faith in God."
    Who are you to decide what your patient must, or mustn't, endure? I suspect that you aren't able to understand why reading the above quote made me shudder and feel a deep, almost sickening, sense of dread. What you see as love, to me is a major violation of your patient's dignity and autonomy. You were whispering in his ear. If he was at all aware he could probably feel your breath on his skin. That is way too intimate when you haven't been given an invitation. I think that you are acting unethically when you force your patient to listen to your beliefs when the patient is in a position where he can no longer speak and voice his objection and is unable to get up and leave if anything of what you said hurt or offended him. A bedridden, dying human being is the very definition of a vulnerable person.
    Quote from EGspirit
    Some nurses in here will understand what I'm talking about. Others will judge me for it.
    I don't understand you.
    Quote from EGspirit
    I don't know if he heard me when I spoke to him.
    If he did, you better hope that he shared your beliefs and that your words had the comforting effect I think you intended.
    Quote from EGspirit
    But you are becoming something: You are becoming a love that is big enough to take in all evil.
    What does this even mean? I've met many human beings who were not able cope with evil. Some were religious, some weren't. I've seen victims of crime broken by evil. I've seen human beings from warzones who were victims of torture, also completely broken by evil. I've seen children broken by evil acts perpetrated against them. I don't think that human beings are receptacles capable of taking in "all evil", without sustaining some damage in the process.
    Quote from thoughtful21
    I definitely don't feel like the same person I was, years ago, before I started going to nursing school and working in healthcare. How has nursing changed you?
    OP, I honestly don't think that nursing has changed me much. I believe that it's largely due to the fact that nursing is my second career and my first probably had a more profound effect on me. Coming from a law enforcement background I had already seen both the best and the worst of what human beings have to offer. So meeting human beings in crisis was something that I was used to. Nursing would probably had more of an effect on me if I'd started out as an idealistic twenty-something.
  8. by   KelRN215
    I am more jaded, cynical and an Atheist now.
  9. by   EGspirit
    Quote from vanilla bean
    I cannot even begin to express to you how distressed this would have made me if I was your patient. I don't share your religious beliefs and if you had proselytized to me when I was in such a vulnerable state, you would have made my final moments on this earth some of the most upsetting and anxiety provoking of my life. I hope, for your patient's sake, that he did share your beliefs and found comfort in your words, but I also hope you come to realize that not everyone does and it's not your place to impose on them without their consent.
    You don't get it. And I'm damn sure not going to explain myself to you.
  10. by   EGspirit
    Quote from macawake
    That is way too intimate when you haven't been given an invitation. I think that you are acting unethically when you force your patient to listen to your beliefs when the patient is in a position where he can no longer speak and voice his objection and is unable to get up and leave if anything of what you said hurt or offended him.
    He was comatose. Nothing hurt or offended him...
    Last edit by dianah on Feb 4 : Reason: Terms of Service
  11. by   Davey Do
    I believe the personality is expressed from a predisposed template and people change only by dealing with trials and tribulations, subsequently experiencing illuminating revelations. People rarely change their behavior. They titrate their behavior to the given circumstance.

    Once upon a time, I believed that whatever job someone did, they were the very best person for that particular job.

    Not so.

    I now believe that anybody can do any job they want if they have the ability to overcome stumbling blocks and huddles or merely jump through loops.

    The Peter Principle states "the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence".

    In other words, we ascend to our level of incompetence.

    It's probably one of the reasons why I, and many others, work at Wrongway Regional Medical Center.

    We're either too incompetent to work at a real hospital or we're merely satisfied with our lot in life.
  12. by   That Guy
    Quote from EGspirit
    He was comatose. Nothing hurt or offended him. ...
    That is by far the worst argument I have ever seen.
    Last edit by dianah on Feb 4
  13. by   KelRN215
    Quote from Davey Do
    I believe the personality is expressed from a predisposed template and people change only by dealing with trials and tribulations, subsequently experiencing illuminating revelations. People rarely change their behavior. They titrate their behavior to the given circumstance.

    Once upon a time, I believed that whatever job someone did, they were the very best person for that particular job.

    Not so.

    I now believe that anybody can do any job they want if they have the ability to overcome stumbling blocks and huddles or merely jump through loops.

    The Peter Principle states "the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence".

    In other words, we ascend to our level of incompetence.

    It's probably one of the reasons why I, and many others, work at Wrongway Regional Medical Center.

    We're either too incompetent to work at a real hospital or we're merely satisfied with our lot in life.
    The longer I've spent in the working world, the truer and truer the Peter Principle seems to me. It is alive and well at my current company.
  14. by   Davey Do
    Quote from thoughtful21
    How has nursing changed you?
    Nursing hasn't changed me as much as it's reinforced some of my beliefs.

    This thread is an example:
    Quote from Davey Do
    "Being a nurse means..." that you learn to keep your opinions that are not generally accepted to yourself and just do your job!

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