How Nursing Has Changed Me

  1. As nurses we often complain about our careers. We vent about the long hours and lack of respect. One thing we don't seem to talk about is the differences nursing has made in us. I have changed a great deal over the years. I have grown wiser, and more patient. Some of the changes I have experienced can be attributed to the natural processes we all go through as we mature, but nursing has also changed me.

    Some of the changes could be seen as negative. Before I became a nurse, I was quieter, and more refined. I never uttered a four letter word, or found crude humor amusing. And I am certianly less tolerant of lazy, self absorbed people. I am less sympathetic than I could be with people with minor complaints.

    But more of the changes have been positive. Seeing others who suffer with chronic illness has made me more a more compassionate person. I realize how precious my health is, and am grateful that my family is healthy. Dealing with families who are in conflict has made me more appreciative of my own loving family. I have continued to learn and grow throughout my career. I am wiser, and have a broader perspective thanks to nursing. Nursing has given me a sense of accomplishment and pride, and boosted my self esteem. Being content with myself makes it easier for my family to love me too.

    Nursing is a big part of my identity, and I do love what I do. Nursing is not just a job or career to me. It has helped shape who I am.
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    ^5 RNinICU. I agree. I might add:

    Nursing has helped me become MUCH more assertive and strong of constitution. I take a lot less for granted in my life and enjoy my family more than ever. Nice thread.
  4. by   hapeewendy
    how hasnt it changed me might be an easier question......
    like anything else in life, there are positives and negatives...

    I am happy to say that nursing has made me far more assertive than I would have ever imagined being . From someone who used to avoid conflict at all cost , I now realize that conflict is a normal part of life, and can be dealt with ..... if not , just pummel them til they listen (jk)
    I have a completely new appreciation for life, not just life, quality of life...... it has to be said that I dont take anything for granted anymore, I really do live each day to the fullest.
    patience was never my strongsuit growing up (at times it still isnt) but for the most part, I find that I just take things as they come and dont stress over the small stuff.
    Idealistic perhaps,but I still do go home knowing that I've made a difference, to me , you just cant beat that feeling.
    becoming a nurse in itself was challenging , so many times I wanted to give up , my father who probably could have, didnt want to help me out financially , and my mom couldnt help me out financially , so I took out a loan (which i am paying off now of course) , worked all through nursing school, and focused on the outcome , not the huge amount of debt I was getting myself into .
    I used to be afraid of illness and death , purposely kept away from hospitals and funerals , going through nursing school and becoming a nurse forced me to face those fears and realize that illness and death do not always have to be horribly frightening ordeals.
    I think nursing has given me a perspective , a perspective that few people get from their work, the ability to see all sides to a story, put yourself in someone elses shoes, and through it all, manage to offer that hot comodity we call hope.

    nursing has also caused me great lack of sleep , a new slew of curse words to my vocabulary , much frustration and stress and more than once an exasperated sigh and the question of "why am I doing this?!?!"

    my non nursing friends cant seem to understand why we do what we do, the pay isnt great considering all we do , the hours suck, we work holidays, deal with the ill ,face death daily and get less respect then fast food restaurant workers some of the time.

    sure if you look at it that way you might wonder
    but if you've had my experiences, it would be so clear, there is nothing else I'd rather do

    hokey - maybe , honest - yup
  5. by   NurseShell
    Wow Wendy!! You bout made me cry!! I may have to quote you - awesome "speech" material

    Even though I'm still on the road to 'becoming' a nurse - I am definitely transforming into a "different" person than I've been - and this is a GOOD thing!

    Self-confidence, assertiveness, boldness - the list of "new" traits goes on!! I've found my calling. I am becoming the nurse I was intended to be! More changes are coming! I can't wait to see "what I look like" when all is said and done
  6. by   Merry1
    Knowing you are doing with your life what you were born to do is one of the most gratifing experiences on the planet! Contributing to the spiritual, physical and emotional well being of another human being is a humbling experience but also one that brings great joy when you see them get better and go on with a productive life or knowing you made a difference in how the last moments of their life was spent and you helped bring peace to a tormented soul is also a privilage. I take much better care of myself and treasure the time I have with my family and friends. To paraphrase:" Love is patient. Love is kind. Love can endure all things." Even though we may not like some people we love mankind on the whole. IMHO
  7. by   Agnus
    It's funny the thing that comes to mind is no so much how becomming a nurse has changed me but how it has change the way others reguard me. Especially my family. Especially my husband.
    Now the same things I said before are taken with respect and seriousness when I was not given credit for knowing the time of day before.
    My family actually consults me first on health issues. My husband is comming to see that I am knowledgable in other areas too, and give me more respect for that. Or maybe it's just that he is starting to loose his own confidence edge as he ages. (68)
  8. by   CCL"Babe"
    Over twenty some years I have changed a lot. Nursing has taught me:

    Never take anything or anyone for granted.

    Never part those you love angry.

    Life is a precious, miraculous gift that can not be replaced.

    Live for the moment, it doesn't hurt to plan for a future, but don't put off what really matters.

    I'm more cautious in some things(too many years in the ED and prehospital seen alot of strange things)

    I'm more assertive and vocal about my opinions.

    More cynical.

    More empathetic.

    Hate the telephone.

    Find I need more quiet/down time by myself to recoop from demands at work.

    Health is the most important gift,especially combined with happiness.

    I'm neater, more exacting, precise, at times more rigid than I ever was.

    My sense of humor has become more black/twisted.

    I have a harder time with dealing with ignorant/abusive people politely.
    I'm sure given time I could think of more.
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    In 1983, someone asked me "Who are you?"

    I can finally answer: I'm a nurse. And I've never been so freakin' happy with my life, in my whole life.

    I feel like Cinderella. I love everybody.


    PS Trust me, that's not just a change. That's a complete 180.
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Apr 11, '03
  10. by   mattsmom81
    This is a nice thread...enjoy all the responses. Also relate to many....

    Sometimes the stigma of being the family/friend nurse grates on me a bit. But I handle it more gracefully as I age.

    I refuse to carry a cell and refuse to apologise for it too...guard my private time well now.

    So true that we gain a perspective on the important things in life...which is why we tend to focus on our families, less on our work life.....perhaps to the profession's detriment over the years.

    Nursing has taught me to say no easier although this has been a slow painful process....
  11. by   Tweety
    Originally posted by CCL"Babe"
    Over twenty some years I have changed a lot. Nursing has taught me:

    Never take anything or anyone for granted.

    Never part those you love angry.

    Life is a precious, miraculous gift that can not be replaced.

    Live for the moment, it doesn't hurt to plan for a future, but don't put off what really matters.

    I'm more cautious in some things(too many years in the ED and prehospital seen alot of strange things)

    I'm more assertive and vocal about my opinions.

    More cynical.

    More empathetic.

    Hate the telephone.

    Find I need more quiet/down time by myself to recoop from demands at work.

    Health is the most important gift,especially combined with happiness.

    I'm neater, more exacting, precise, at times more rigid than I ever was.

    My sense of humor has become more black/twisted.

    I have a harder time with dealing with ignorant/abusive people politely.
    I'm sure given time I could think of more.
    Wow! You are very self aware. Plus you are like me. I couldn't have described myself any better.
  12. by   shelleybelle
    OH wow.... this is officially my favorite thread! I hope it never goes away! As I read, I felt like someone was looking inside me. I'm still a student, I graduate in July. Nursing is a second career for me and everyday i wonder why I didn't do it 13yrs ago? I know why... God was working on me! I can hardly believe my blessings! Finally... at 31yrs old, I'm so proud of me I'm also proud of all of you!
  13. by   shelleybelle
    Originally posted by NurseShell

    I can't wait to see "what I look like" when all is said and done
    SHELL!! You cannot BELIEVE how many times a few of my classmates & I have said this!!!!!!!!!! Although when I started saying it, I wasn't exactly talking about gaining 25lbs!
  14. by   Wuiteroz
    wow that's so amazing that you say that
    You know, I always thought that if I'll go into nursing, this job will teach me how to do it and really will bring out the best in me, teach me how to be more compassionate, and more patient.
    We really need a thread called: why I love nursing
    lol or do we have many of those already?

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